Prairie Spiderwort – Dayflower Family (Commelinaceae) Tradescantia accidentalis (Britt.) Smyth
Region: 1 through 10 (Ellis County is in Region 4)
Size: 6 – 36 inches
Blooms: February – July, Perennial
Tradescantia species are in the same family as dayflowers. Like dayflowers, spiderworts bloom for one day, usually in the morning, but have three radially symmetric petals, whereas dayflowers are bilaterally symmetric, or have two large petals and one small one. The flowers of spiderworts are usually bluish purple, but are sometimes violet, pink or white. The plant itself is erect to trailing, with succulent stems. Alternate, narrow leaves are a foot or more long and look as though they have been folded lengthwise, sheathing the stem. The top two leaves subtend the flower cluster like bracts. Spiderworts do well in cultivation, preferring a moist, sandy soil. The succulent leaves and stems are edible, either raw or cooked, but the roots may be poisonous. The fourteen Texas species hybridize, making them difficult to distinguish.
Melinda Kocian, ECMG Emeritus