Tradescantia occidentalis (Britt.) Smyth
Family: Commelinaceae
prairie spiderwort,  more...
[Tradescantia ramifera ,  more]
Tradescantia occidentalis image
Max Licher  
Herbs, erect or ascending, rarely rooting at nodes. Stems 5--90 cm; internodes glaucous, glabrous. Leaves spirally arranged, sessile; blade linear-lanceolate, 5--50 ´ 0.2--3 cm (distal leaf blades equal to or narrower than sheaths when sheaths opened, flattened), apex acuminate, glaucous, glabrous. Inflorescences terminal, often axillary; bracts foliaceous. Flowers distinctly pedicillate; pedicels 0.8--3 cm, glandular-puberulent, rarely glabrous or glabrescent; sepals 4--11 mm, glandular-puberulent, usually with apical tuft of eglandular hairs, occasionally with scattered eglandular hairs among glandular, rarely glabrous or glabrescent; petals distinct, bright blue to rose or magenta, broadly ovate, not clawed, 6--16 mm; stamens free; filaments bearded. Capsules 4--7 mm. Seeds 2--4 mm. All of the chromosome counts cited by E. Anderson (1954) for this species are attributable to Tradescantia occidentalis var. occidentalis.

Plant: perennial herb; glabrous, glaucous, the roots fibrous; stems postrate to erect, 5-95 cm, freely branching Leaves: sessile, 6-55 cm long, 0.3-1.5 cm wide, glabrous, the apex acuminate INFLORESCENCE: terminal and often axillary, the bracts foliose Flowers: pedicels 0.8-3 cm long, glandular-puberulent to glabrous; sepals 4-10 mm long, glandular-puberulent to glabrous; petals bright blue to rose or magenta, broadly ovate, 0.5-1.5 cm long Fruit: FRUITS 4-7 mm long, 3-valved, 3-locular; SEEDS 2-4 mm, with hilum oblong to linear Misc: Riparian habitats, rocky hillsides in grasslands, chaparral, oak and pine-oak forest to ponderosa pine on granitic and limestone substrate REFERENCES: Puente, Raul, and Robert B. Faden. 2001. Commelinaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 33(1).
Stem slender, straight, often branched, 2-6 dm at anthesis, glabrous and glaucous; lvs firm, glabrous, involute, usually narrowly linear and under 1 cm wide; bracts like the lvs; cymes solitary and terminal, or with another one peduncled from an upper node; pedicels and sep sparsely pubescent with glandular hairs 0.5 mm; sep acute to acuminate, 6-10 mm; pet rose to blue, 12-16 mm; 2n=12, 24. Dry prairies and plains; w. Wis. and Minn. to La., w. to Mont., Utah, and Tex.

Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.

©The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Puente and Faden 2001
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Glabrous perennial, glaucous, fibrous roots; prostrate to erect stems 5-95 cm, freely branching. Leaves: Sessile, 6-55 cm long, 0.3-1.5 cm wide, glabrous, apex acuminate. Flowers: Terminal and often axillary inflorescences, foliose bracts; flowers on pedicels 0.8-3 cm long, glandular-puberulent to glabrous; sepals 4-10 mm long, glandular-puberulent to glabrous; petals bright blue to rose or magenta, broadly ovate, 0.5-1.5 cm long. Fruits: Capsule, 4-7 mm long. Ecology: Found in riparian habitats, on rocky hillsides from grasslands to chaparral, to oak and pine oak forests from 2,000-7,500 ft (610-2286 m); flowers February-June. Notes: There are two varieties recognized in the region: var. occidentalis and var. scopulorum. Var. occidentalis is told apart by its sepals and pedicels being glandular-puberulent, rarely nearly glabrous, while var. scopulorum is completely glabrous. Can be confused with Commelina but is differentiated by its solitary spathes and flowers, Tradescantia has an open umbellate inflorescence, rather than having a spathe. Additionally, Tradescantia has hairy stamen filaments. Ethnobotany: Used for paint, as a diuretic, a love medicine, a disinfectant, and the tender shoots were eaten as greens. Etymology: Tradescantia is named for John Tradescant (1608-1662), and English gardener to King Charles I, while occidentalis means of the west. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010
Tradescantia occidentalis image
Max Licher  
Tradescantia occidentalis image
Max Licher  
Tradescantia occidentalis image
Max Licher  
Tradescantia occidentalis image
Max Licher  
Tradescantia occidentalis image
Max Licher  
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Max Licher  
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Liz Makings  
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Patrick Alexander  
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Patrick Alexander  
Tradescantia occidentalis image
Patrick Alexander  
Tradescantia occidentalis image
Patrick Alexander  
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