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Tradescantia bracteata (Bracted spiderwort)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Tradescantia bracteata

Tradescantia bracteata Small

Bracted Spiderwort, Long-bract Spiderwort

Commelinaceae (Spiderwort Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Erect, stout, usually unbranched stems, 10-18 in. tall. Grass-like leaves. Several flowers in clusters at top of stem, subtended by bracts similar to stem leaves. Three blue-violet petals and six stamens tipped with bright yellow anthers. Long-bract spiderwort flowers close by midday and last only one day.

Named after John Tradescant (1608-1662) who served as gardener to Charles I of England.

Tradescantia species will hybridize in just about any combination.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Margin: Entire
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 18 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul


USA: AR , IA , IL , IN , KS , LA , MA , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , ND , NE , OH , OK , SD , WI , WY
Native Distribution: WI to s.e. MT, s. to AR & OK
Native Habitat: Moist to dry prairies

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist to dry soils
Conditions Comments: Tradescantia species will hybridize in just about any combination.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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


Description: Plant treated seed in fall. Seed germinates best in cool soils. A faster method of propagation is divide a large clump into several pieces. Divide in early fall or very early spring. Stem cuttings may be taken any time during the growing season. Remo
Seed Collection: The small light-green capsule, surrounded by three green bracts is mature 2-3 weeks after flowering. A few days prior to splitting, the capsule becomes dry and papery. Collecting seeds is easiest by tying a small bag around the unsplit capsule. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Cold-moist stratify for 120 days.
Commercially Avail: yes

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.


Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-01-26
Research By: TWC Staff

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