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Zigzag Spiderwort, Wideleaf Spiderwort - Tradescantia subaspera


Family: Commelinaceae Spiderwort family Genus Common Name: Spiderwort Native Status: Native
Tradescantia subaspera - Zigzag Spiderwort, Wideleaf Spiderwort. While spiderworts are found in all but 5 states, Tradescantia subaspera is found only in 18 states in the eastern half of the United States. The lovely 3-petaled blossoms melt away when the sun gets on them. According to a quote from 1894 wildflower author George Iles, found at Arthur Lee Jacobson's website, the "Spiderwort" name comes from the ability to draw the sun-melted blossoms out into long threads like a spider's web.

Found in:
AL, AR, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, VA, WV

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Distribution of Tradescantia subaspera in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 02 Oct 2014). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Site: Reflection Riding, Hamilton County, TN Date: 2010-September-06Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Zigzag Spiderwort has 3 blue/purple petals which are more or less equal in size. The yellow anthers are atop a relatively long filaments, which are hairy, giving a fuzzy appearance to the flowers. I was surprised to find this plant blooming, albeit with a single blossom, since Spiderwort is usually a late spring / early summer wildflower.
Tradescantia subaspera

Site: Reflection Riding, Hamilton County, TN Date: 2010-September-06Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
A spider protecting a solitary Spiderwort blossom.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Tradescantia subaspera

Site: Reflection Riding, Hamilton County, TN Date: 2010-September-06Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The common name Zigzag comes from the appearance of the stem of the plant, which makes slight direction changes at the leaf nodes. The wideleaf name is because the alternating leaves are wider than in most Tradescantia species, being up to 2 inches wide.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Tradescantia subaspera

Site: Reflection Riding, Hamilton County, TN Date: 2010-September-06Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
The inflorescence terminates both the main stem and stems arising from the leaf axils.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Tradescantia subaspera

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2014
Photographs Copyrighted by the named photographer