Commelineae R. Brown, Prodr. 268. 1810.
Commelynaceae S. Endl., Gen. Pl. 124. 1836-1840.
Commelyneae C. S. Kunth, Enum. Pl. 4: 34.1843.
Annual or perennial plants, some with stolons. Roots generally thin and fibrous, rarely uniformly thickened or tuberous. Stems erect, ascending or decumbent. Leaves linear, lanceolate or ovate; sheath cylindrical, usually fuse. Prophyll sheathing, membranous, at the base of branches. Inflorescence terminal, rarely axillary, a cincinnus, drepanium, thyrses or simple. Flowers bisexual, or bisexual and male, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, trimerous; sepals 3, green, persistent; petals 3, white, blue or purple, free or fused below; stamens 6, all alike or heteromorphic with 2-3 fertile stamens and 3-4 staminodes, filaments glabrous or barbate; ovary superior, bilocular or trilocular, style glabrous or barbate. Fruits a capsule, dehiscent, rarely indehiscent. Seeds uniseriate, rarely biseriate, embryotega lateral, semilateral, dosal or apical, hilum punctiform or linear.
The family of about 40 genera with ca. 650 species, distributed in warm regions. Tropical Africa; Mexico and northern Central America; and the Indian subcontinent are three major centres of taxonomic diversity. Eight genera with twenty-five species in Taiwan.