bracted spiderwort

(Tradescantia bracteata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

bracted spiderwort

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

Nativity

Native

 
Occurrence

 

 
Habitat

Moist to dry. Prairies, roadsides. Full sun.

 
Flowering

April to July

     
Flower Color

Bright rose or blue

     
Height

8 to 16

     

Identification

This 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.

 
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.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Commelinaceae (spiderwort)

 

Subfamily:

Commelinoideae

 

Tribe:

Tradescantieae

 

Subtribe:

Tradescantiinae

 
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 or flower cluster.

 

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

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Inflorescence

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