Dayflower blue

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Asiatic dayflower (Commelina communis)


Paper dyed with dayflower blue

A blue dye extracted from the petals of the Commelina communis lily plant native to Asia. Dayflower is a herbaceous annual plant that sprawls along the ground like a vine, often rooting at the nodes. The flowers bloom only for a day, emerging one at a time. The plant is considered invasive in the United States and it is resistant to many herbicides. The blue colorant in the dayflower blue dye is primarily commelinin.

Synonyms and Related Terms

tsuyukusa (Jap.); aigami (Jap.); commelinin; Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower); Commelina virginica (Virginia dayflower); mouse ears

Paper dyed with dayflower blue

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Leaves = alternate, narrowly ovate to lance-shaped
  • Stamens = 3 on short stems (sterile) and 3 on long stems producing pollen
  • Blooms = May-October
  • ISO R105 Lightfastness Classification =


Dayflower FORS.JPG

Resources and Citations

  • S.Shimoyama, Y.Noda, S.Katshuhara, "Non-Destructive Analysis of Ukiyo-E Prints" Dyes in History and Archaeology, No.15, Paper presented in Manchester England, Nov. 1996.
  • R.Feller, M.Curran, C.Bailie, 'Identification of Traditional Organic Colorants Employed in Japanese Prints and Determination of their Rates of Fading', Japanese Woodblock Prints, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, 1984
  • Shiho Sasaki, Elizabeth I. Coombs, 'Dayflower blue: its appearance and lightfastness in traditional Japanese prints' in "Scientific research on the pictorial arts of Asia:proceedings of the second Forbes Symposium at the Freer Gallery of Art, 2005" AATA Getty