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Tradescantia virginiana

Tradescantia virginiana L.

Ephemerum congestum Moench

Tradescantia brevicaulis Raf.

Tradescantia congesta (Moench) D. Don

Tradescantia rupestris Raf.

Tradescantia speciosa Salisb.

Tradescantia virginiana L. var. alba Hook. ex Raf.

Tradescantia virginiana L. var. barbata Raf.

Virginia 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
SpeciesvirginianaFrom or referring to Virginia

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: Virginia spiderworts are 8-36" (20-91 cm) high. Leaves are long and narrow, dark or olive green, with parallel veins, like wide grass blades. They are up to 12" (30 cm) × 1" (2.5 cm). Flowers are 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. Each flower lasts only a single day.

Here are a few species:

 

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

6/5/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 21 cm)

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

6/1/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm) ID is uncertain

 
Tradescantia occidentalis

Tradescantia pinetorum
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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

 

Edibility: Leaves and stems are edible, either fresh or cooked.

Online References:

Tradescantia virginiana on Missouriplants.com

Tradescantia virginiana at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Tradescantia virginiana at Illinois Wildflowers

Tradescantia virginiana at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Tradescantia virginiana on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Tradescantia virginiana at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Tradescantia virginiana at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Tradescantia virginiana on the USDA Plants Database (PDF)

Tradescantia virginiana on eFloras

References:

Newcomb, Lawrence, Morrison, Gordon (Illus.), Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, Little, Brown and Company, 1977, p. 120

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

6/1/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm) ID is uncertain

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm) ID is uncertain

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

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Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

6/5/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3 × 2½" (7.4 × 6.6 cm)

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

6/1/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm) ID is uncertain

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

7/7/2017 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 4-9:

About this map...