Fall Wildflowers of New England
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Spiderwort
Tradescantia virginiana
F. Commelinaceae
Tradescantia virginiana
General Description:

Spiderwort is a showy wildflower that measures approximately 20-60 cm. in height. The flowers are arranged in rounded clusters atop the terminal shoot and have three, bright purple petals that surround a dark purple, hairy center speckled with six, conspicuous, bright yellow stamens. The densely arranged, light green leaves of spiderwort are long, broad and channeled.

Flowers:

The radially symmetrical flowers measure 2.5-5 cm in width. The bloom consists of three, bright purple, rounded and tapering petals that surround a central grouping of deep purple hairs speckled with six, bright yellow stamens. The flowers are arranged in rounded clusters atop the terminal shoot and are supported by two narrow, leaf-like bracts.

Leaves:

The leaves of spiderwort are relatively large, measuring up to 38 cm. in length. They are long, broad with pointed tips, channeled, and bright green with a conspicuous dark green midvein and visible parallel veins. They are densely arranged along the length of the stem

Habitat:

Spiderwort grows best in thickets and meadows, and along roadsides and woodland borders.

Fun Facts:

Spiderwort receives its name from the angular placements of its leaves; this arrangement suggests a squatting spider.

Spiderwort flowers are transient. The flowers only bloom in the morning, then wilt into a jelly-like substance.

The dark purple hairs found in the center of each bloom are constructed of single chains of thin-walled cells that, under microscopic analysis, clearly expose the cell nucleus.

Tradescantia virginiana
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