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Tradescantia occidentalis

Tradescantia occidentalis (Britton) Smyth

 

Western Spiderwort, Prairie Spiderwort

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassCommelinidaeDayflowers and spiderworts, and several others
OrderCommelinalesIncludes dayflowers (spiderworts), bloodworts, water hyacinths, others
FamilyCommelinaceaeDayflower or spiderwort family
GenusTradescantiaAfter John Tradescant (1608-1662), English gardener to King Charles I
SpeciesoccidentalisFrom the west, western

About plant names...

Spiderworts are named for the resemblance of their leaves to a squatting spider. The genus Tradescantia is named for John Tradescant, a gardener for Charles I of England. There are about 71 species.

Identification: Plants are up to 24" (60 cm) tall, with smooth stems with several joints. Leaves are long and narrow, with a whitish covering. Flowers are bright blue to rose or purple, about ¾" (1.9 cm) in diameter, with three petals and six stamens with yellow anthers.

Here are a few species:

 

Tradescantia occidentalis (Western Spiderwort, Prairie Spiderwort)

6/3/2009 · Zion National Park, UT
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

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Tradescantia occidentalis

Tradescantia pinetorum

Tradescantia virginiana
Common Name

Western Spiderwort

Pine Spiderwort

Virginia Spiderwort
Plant Up to 24" (60 cm) tall. Has smooth stems with several joints 8-20" (20-50 cm) high 8-36" (20-91 cm) high
Flowers Bright blue to rose or purple, about ¾" (1.9 cm) in diameter, with three petals and six stamens with yellow anthers. Blue to purple flowers about ¾" (1.9 cm) in diameter, with six stamens with yellow anthers. Small hairs are on various parts of the flower. All petals are equal in size. Blue or purple, ¾-2" (1.9-5 cm) in diameter, with three petals and six stamens, each with yellow anthers. There are two bracts beneath each flower
Leaves Long and narrow, with a whitish covering 2-5" (5-12 cm) long, sometimes much longer, and narrow, like blades of grass Long and narrow, dark or olive green, with parallel veins, like wide grass blades. Up to 12" (30 cm) × 1" (2.5 cm)
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 4-9
Habitats Plains, prairies, disturbed sites Open brush, woods and wooded slopes, especially pine woods Prairies, thickets, woodland edges, power line clearences
Type Wild Wild Wild
Occurrence Common Common Common

 

Online References:

Tradescantia occidentalis on Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah

Tradescantia occidentalis var. occidentalis on Keir Morse's site, Keirosity.com

Tradescantia occidentalis at Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert

Tradescantia occidentalis at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Tradescantia occidentalis on Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses

Tradescantia occidentalis at Minnesota Wildflowers

Tradescantia occidentalis on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Tradescantia occidentalis on eFloras

Tradescantia occidentalis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Tradescantia occidentalis (Western Spiderwort, Prairie Spiderwort)

5/23/2009 · West Fork of Oak Creek Trail, AZ
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm)

Tradescantia occidentalis (Western Spiderwort, Prairie Spiderwort)

6/3/2009 · Zion National Park, UT
≈ 28 × 19" (71 × 47 cm)

Tradescantia occidentalis (Western Spiderwort, Prairie Spiderwort)

5/22/2009 · Slide Rock State Park, Sedona, AZ
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 12 cm)

Range:

About this map...