Greenhouse experiments were conducted to evaluate growth and reproduction of Benghal dayflower in response to daily (nondrought stress) and weekly (drought stress) irrigation. With daily irrigation, Benghal dayflower plants added one leaf per plant each week during the initial 6 wk of growth and then increased leaf number eightfold between the intervals of 6 and 10 wk after planting (WAP) and 10 and 15 WAP. By 15 WAP each plant had in excess of 400 leaves. Benghal dayflower plant height increased 2.4 cm wk−1 between 5 and 14 WAP, increasing eightfold during this interval, while plant width increased 20-fold. Aerial spathe formation began between 7 and 8 WAP, with 26 spathes maturing (containing seeds ready for dispersal) each week beginning at 11 WAP. In another study, the influence of duration of drought stress at intervals between 7 and 56 d on early growth and development of cotton and Benghal dayflower was evaluated. Benghal dayflower aboveground biomass was 3.5 times greater than cotton. There was an inverse linear relationship between aboveground biomass and duration of drought stress for cotton and Benghal dayflower, though there was a more rapid decline for Benghal dayflower. A final study evaluated Benghal dayflower response to weekly moisture regimes that approximated 13, 25, 50, and 100% of soil field capacity. Benghal dayflower aerial spathes were 4.6 times more numerous than subterranean spathes. Rate of seed production decreased in a linear manner with decreasing water volume, however, rate of subterranean seed production was less affected by water volume than was aerial seed production. These data indicate that Benghal dayflower thrives under high soil moisture regimes, but that drought stress inhibits growth and reproduction. Cotton appears to be more drought tolerant than Benghal dayflower. Judicious water use in cotton cropping systems in the southeastern United States could be an important component of multiple-tactic Benghal dayflower management program.
Nomenclature: Benghal dayflower, Commelina benghalensis L. COMBE; cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L.