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Ohio Spiderwort

Ohio Spiderwort
Tradescantia ohiensis
(Order Commelinales; Family Commelinaceae)

Tradescantia ohiensis. Photo by Alicia Oberg, 2011.


Diagnosis: Perennial; succulent.
Height 1.5-3.5 feet tall.
Stems: Erect, 1 to several, slender, branched.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, sheathing at nodes on the stem, narrow, lance-shaped, 4-14 inches long, and 0.25-0.75 inches wide.
Inflorescence: Solitary or few clusters of 5-20 flowers with leaf-like bracts at base.
Flowers: 3 bluish-purple petals 0.5-0.75 inches long, and 6 stamens with bright, yellow anthers.
Fruits: Small, round capsules containing 2-6 seeds.
Roots: Short, succulent roots spreading out from the base.


Flowering Period: April - August.


Habitat: Mixed and tallgrass prairies, as well as disturbed sites, and open woods.


Conservation status: Not threatened.


Native status: Native to North America.


Distribution: Distribution of Tradescantia ohiensis in the United States. From Prairie Moon Nursery ( This species is found throughout in Kansas. 



Visitors: Tradescantia ohiensis attracts both Halictine bees and Syrphid flies, although the flies feed only on the pollen and do not actually pollinate the plants. The most important pollinator however are the long-tongued bees, especially bumblebees.

Video: Bumblebee visiting spiderwort in Columbus, Ohio



Illinois Wildflowers:

Flickr: spiderwort

YouTube: Bumblebee visiting spiderwort in Columbus, Ohio:


Freeman, Craig C. and Schofield, Eileen K. 1991. Wildflowers of the Southern Great Plains. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 80 pp.

Great Plains Nature Center:


Image Credits:
Tradescantia ohiensis in the field. Photo by Alicia Oberg, 2011.

Prairie Moon Nursery:


Submitted by: Alicia Oberg, July 2011.

Wichita State University
Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
Comments can be sent to Mary Liz Jameson.
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