Tradescantia occidentalis (Britton) Smyth
Prairie Spiderwort, Western Spiderwort, Spiderwort
Commelinaceae (Spiderwort Family)
USDA Symbol: TROC
The erect, branching stems of this perennial are up to 3 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 to rose 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 I of England.
Tradescantia species will hybridize in just about any combination.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Margin: Entire
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Blue , Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Blue-violet to rose or magenta.
DistributionUSA: 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, Savannas, 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: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial 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...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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
BibliographyBibref 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
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Tradescantia occidentalis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Tradescantia occidentalis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Tradescantia occidentalis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-03-01
Research By: NPC