Perennial or annual herbs, often fleshy; stems often swollen at the nodes. Leaves simple, entire, with tubular sheathing bases. Flowers radially or bilaterally symmetrical, mostly bisexual, in terminal or axillary, single to many-flowered, 1-sided or coiled cymes. Cymes often grouped or fused in pairs. Sepals 3, petals 3, sometimes 1 petal reduced or absent. Stamens 6 or some reduced and sterile. Ovary superior, 3(2) chambered with several, 2 or 1 ovule. Fruit a few-seeded capsule, usually dehiscent, dry or fleshy.
The popular ornamental genera Rhoeo, Setcreasea and Zebrina are now included within Tradescantia. Several species of Commelina and Tradescantia are weeds.
Stem-sheathing leaves, very short-lived flowers with distinct sepals and petals, often bilaterally symmetrical and with several stamen types.
A worldwide, mainly tropical family of about 35 genera and 600 species. Australia has 8 native (1 endemic) genera and 3 introduced genera.
Source: (2005). Commelinaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.