Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Tradescantia virginiana L.
- Family: Day-flower (Commelinaceae)
- Flowering: April-July
- Field Marks: The characters that differentiate this spider-wort are the smooth stems,
smooth leaves, and hairy but not glandular sepals.
- Habitat: Woods, prairies, meadows, roadsides.
- Habit: Perennial herb from fleshy roots and with mucilaginous sap.
- Stems: Upright, usually unbranched, green, usually smooth, up to 1 1/2 feet tall.
- Leaves: Alternate, elongated, linear-lanceolate, long-pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, smooth or nearly so, without teeth, 1/4-3/4 inch wide.
- Flowers: Few to several in a solitary, terminal cyme subtended by bracts usually wider and shorter than the leaves; flower stalks up to 13/4 inches long, hairy but not glandular.
- Sepals: 3, green, free from each other, hairy but not glandular, 1/2-3/4 inch long.
- Petals: 3, blue to rose, rarely white, 1/2-3/4 inch long, withering quickly.
- Stamens: 6, with densely hairy stalks.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Capsules obovoid to nearly spherical, 3-lobed, smooth, 1/6-1/3 inch long, with 3-6 seeds.
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