Photo Credit
Photo courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Spiderwort

Scientific name
Tradescantia ohiensis
Also Known As
Bluejacket, Smooth spiderwort
Plant Family
Plant Group
The leaves are long and grass-like. Individual flowers are short-lived and generally blue to purple. Look for them in prairies, meadows, and roadsides.
Identification Hints

Spiderwort leaves are long and grass-like. Individual flowers are short-lived and generally blue to purple with 3 petals and yellow anthers. Look for them in prairies, meadows, and roadsides.

Did You Know?

The blue hairs on the stamens (which can be seen on the close up photo) have been used to detect radiation. They turn pink when exposed to even low levels of radiation.

Leaves
Leaves are up to 15 in (40 cm) long, and grass-like with parallel veins. Leaves are flat and smooth, and usually less than 1/3 in (0.85 cm) wide, although are slightly wider at the base. All leaves are obviously clasping the stem, and therefore have no petiole (stalk). Leaves have smooth margins and tend to be so tall that the tips bend downward.
Flowers
Flowers have 3 petals and 6 hairy yellow-tipped stamens. Flowers are usually blue to purple and rarely also pink or nearly white. Flowers are in terminal clusters at the top of every stem. Below each flower are two long, slender, leaf-like bracts. Each individual flower lasts only one day. Flowers open in the morning, and are normally closed by mid-afternoon. Flowers have no scent.
Fruits
A dry oval capsule, about ΒΌ in (1 cm) long, that splits into three sections. Each capsule holds 3 to 6 seeds.
Habitat
Prairies, meadows, woods, roadsides. Full, to partial sun in dry to moderate moisture. Ontario, south to Louisiana, east to the Atlantic. Also in California.
Bloom Time
April through July.
States
AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV