bracted spiderwort

(Tradescantia bracteata)

Conservation Status
bracted spiderwort
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Bracted spiderwort is a 8 to 16 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to many stems from thick, fleshy, fibrous roots.

The stems are erect or ascending, usually unbranched, bright green, and usually hairless or with fine, short hairs near the top. There are 2 to 4 nodes on the stem and up to 8 between nodes. The stems and leaves are not glaucous.

The leaves are alternate, linear, 3 to 12 long, and to wide. They are bright green, stiff, folded lengthwise forming a groove (keeled), and hairless or sometimes hairy with minute, fine hairs. The upper leaves are as narrow or narrower than the part of the leaf that surrounds the stem when it is opened and flattened. The base of the leaf sheaths the stem. The tip tapers to a point with concave sides along the tip. The margins are untoothed.

The inflorescence is a tight, umbrella-like cluster of 5 to 15 flowers arising from the same point. They appear at the end of the stem and sometimes also on long stalks rising from the leaf axils. A pair of bracts below the inflorescence are similar to the leaves but often longer and wider, 2 to 12 long. The bracts are folded lengthwise and curve downward.

The flowers are 1 to 1½ wide. They are on to 1 long, densely hairy stalks which droop when in bud, becoming erect when the flower opens. The sepals are densely covered with long hairs. The 3 petals are usually bright rose, sometimes blue, and egg-shaped. There are 6 stamens with bright yellow anthers. The petals last only one day, opening in the morning then turning to jelly in the mid-day heat. The central flowers bloom first. There is no floral scent. The hairiness on the sepals and flower stalks are a mix of long and short, glandular and non-glandular hairs.

The fruit is a papery, nearly round capsule ¼ or less in diameter with 2 to 6 seeds.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

8 to 16

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Bright rose or blue

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Ohio spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) is a much taller plant, 16 to 24 tall at maturity. The stems are often branched, bluish-green, and glaucous. The leaves are grayish-green or bluish-green, glaucous, and flat, not keeled. The bracts are 1 to 8 long and no wider than the leaves. The sepals and flower stalks are usually hairless.

Prairie spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis var. occidentalis) is a slightly taller plant, 8 to 24 tall at maturity. The stems are glaucous and often branched. The leaves are glaucous and are rolled inward toward the upper side, not keeled. The bracts are 2 to 8 long and no wider than the leaves. The sepals and flower stalks are sparsely hairy with minute, glandular hairs.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Moist to dry. Prairies, roadsides. Full sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

April to July

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  11/12/2018      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  
  Subclass Commelinidae  
 

Order

Commelinales (spiderworts and allies)  
 

Family

Commelinaceae (spiderwort)  
  Subfamily Commelinoideae  
  Tribe Tradescantieae  
  Subtribe Tradescantiinae  
 

Genus

Tradescantia (spiderwort)  
  Species Tradescantia occidentalis (western spiderwort)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

bluejacket

blue-jacket

bracted spiderwort

common spiderwort

longbract spiderwort

long-bracted spiderwort

small spiderwort

smooth spiderwort

spider lily

sticky spiderwort

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.

 

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.

 

Glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 

Keeled

Folded, as in a grass blade, or with a raised ridge, as in a grass sheath; like the keel of a boat.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

Node

The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

Sheath

The lower part of the leaf that surrounds the stem.

       
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Kirk Nelson
       

Lebanon Hills Regional Park, next to the trail along the northeast side of McDonough Lake

  bracted spiderwort   bracted spiderwort
       
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Plant

  bracted spiderwort   bracted spiderwort
       
  bracted spiderwort   bracted spiderwort
       

Inflorescence

  bracted spiderwort   bracted spiderwort
       
  bracted spiderwort   bracted spiderwort Buds
       

Flower

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  bracted spiderwort   bracted spiderwort
       
       

 

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