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Carlton, M. W.
Tradescantia occidentalis (Britton) Smyth
Prairie spiderwort, Western Spiderwort, Spiderwort
USDA Symbol: TROC
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
The erect, branching stems of this perennial are up to 2 ft. tall. Its leaves are long and narrow with a whitish bloom. Several flowers, in clusters at stem or branch ends, are subtended by bracts similar to the leaves. There are three blue-violet petals and six stamens with yellow anthers. Spiderwort flowers close by mid-day and last only one day.
Western Spiderwort is a member of the family Commelinaceae, which includes herbs with more or less swollen nodes, and flowers arranged in clusters enveloped in boat-shaped bracts. About 40 genera and 600 species are known, found mostly in tropical and subtropical regions. Dayflower and Moses-in-a-boat are cultivated as ornamentals.
Named after John Tradescant (1608-1662) who served as gardener to Charles 1 of England.
Tradescantia species will hybridize in just about any combination.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
, WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution: MN
w. to Rockies Native Habitat:
Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Open woodlands, Woodlands edge, Opening
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry Soil Description:
Dry, sandy or fine soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous, Limestone-based Conditions Comments:
Grow in moist,well-drained soil,in sun or light shade. A long-flowering plant for an herbaceous
border. Protect young growth from slugs.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Perennial
garden, Wildflower meadow Use Food:
Western Spiderwort (T. occidentalis) was used by Native
Americans as a cooked vegetable. Conspicuous Flowers:
Find Seed or Plants
Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Erosion control plants for steep slope in Austin, TX
April 09, 2007
I'm interested in finding native plants, either perennials or grasses, that would help control erosion on a fairly steep slope. These plants would be in a park, and volunteers will be watering the pl...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Westfield, WI
Record Last Modified: 2009-04-15
Research By: NPC