PRAIRIE SPIDERWORT
File Size: 77 KB
 
Tradescantia occidentalis   (Britton ) Smyth
Russell County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 8-20 inches
Family: Commelinaceae - Spiderwort Family
Flowering Period:   May, June, July, August
Stems: Erect, slender, straight, often branched, glabrous, waxy; somewhat succulent; 2-6 nodes, internodes to 10 inches long.
Leaves: Alternate, firm, linear-lanceolate, 3.5 to 12 inches long and .15 to .5 inch wide, glabrous, waxy, often folded.
Inflorescences: Cyme, umbel-like, few to many-flowered, teminal on stem or branches; bracts leafy, glabrous, 2 to 8 inches long.
Flowers: Sepals 3, elliptic, pointed, glandular-hairy, margins sometimes purplish; petals 3, broadly egg-shaped, bright blue to rose or magenta; stamens 6, filaments bearded; stalks up to 4/5 inch long, sparsely glandular-hairy.
Fruits: Capsule, nearly spherical to oblong-ellipsoid,; seeds 2-6, compressed, gray.
Habitat: Prairies and disturbed sites; dry sandy or rocky soils.
Distribution: Principally in the west 3/4 of Kansas.
Uses: Several Native American tribes used the young shoots of prairie spiderwort as a food source.
Comments: Three other spiderworts are observed in Kansas: common spiderwort , bracted spiderwort , and Tharps' spiderwort .

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