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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Tradescantia occidentalis (Prairie spiderwort)
Carlton, M. W.

Tradescantia occidentalis

Tradescantia occidentalis (Britton) Smyth

Prairie spiderwort, Western Spiderwort, Spiderwort

Commelinaceae (Spiderwort Family)

Synonym(s):

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 Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul

Distribution

USA: AR , AZ , CO , IA , KS , LA , MN , MT , ND , NE , NJ , NM , NY , OK , SD , TX , UT , WI , WY
Canada: AB , MB , SK
Native Distribution: MN to LA, w. to Rockies
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Open woodlands, Woodlands edge, Opening

Growing Conditions

Water 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.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Perennial garden, Wildflower meadow
Use Food: Western Spiderwort (T. occidentalis) was used by Native Americans as a cooked vegetable.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

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

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: UPL FACU UPL UPL UPL UPL FACW
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:

Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX

Bibliography

Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Tradescantia occidentalis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Tradescantia occidentalis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Tradescantia occidentalis

Metadata

Record Modified: 2009-04-15
Research By: NPC

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