A Plant’s Strength Lies in its Roots

January 24, 2022


Menashe_dayflower roots

Menashe_dayflower roots2

Photographer: Menashe Davidson 

Summary Author: Menashe Davidson 

When I decided to “domesticate” the white-mouth dayflower (Commelina erecta) from the wild and grow it in containers in my home garden (Rishon LeZion, Israel), it was simply because I was impressed with the plants above ground vitality and the beauty of its blooms.

A few months back, I replaced the white-mouth dayflower plants with other annual ornamentals that fit better with the winter season. Immediately, I realized the strength of the dayflowers’ roots. It was so securely anchored that I had difficulty extracting it from the soil it was growing from (top photo). Experiencing this, I could easily understand why this plant is able to thrive in places where other plants struggle. Note that in some regions the white mouth dayflower is considered invasive.

The dayflower’s rhizomes, plant stems that are modified to grow horizontally beneath the surface, allow it to grow roots and shoots to form new plants. As you can see, the underground portion of this plant is a tangle of root systems -- several plants have grown together (bottom photo). Since entire new plants can grow from rhizomes fragments in the soil, once this species become established it’s very hard to eradicate.