|Tradescantia subsp. var.||Spider Lily, Spiderwort|
Tradescantia (pronounced /ˌtrædɨˈskæntiə/), the Spiderworts, is a genus of an estimated 71 species of perennial plants in the family Commelinaceae, native to the New World from southern Canada south to northern Argentina. They are weakly upright to scrambling plants, growing to 30–60 cm tall, and are commonly found individually or in clumps in wooded areas and fields. The leaves are long, thin and bladelike to lanceolate, from 3–45 cm long. The flowers are white, pink or purple but most commonly bright blue, with three petals and six yellow anthers. The sap is mucilaginous and clear. A number of the species flower in the morning and when the sun shines on the flowers in the afternoon they close up, but the flowers can remain open on cloudy days until evening.
Though sometimes accounted as a weed, spiderwort is cultivated for borders and also used in containers. Where it appears as a volunteer, it is often welcomed and allowed to stay.
The first species described, Virginia Spiderwort T. virginiana, is native to the eastern United States from Maine to Alabama, and Canada in southern Ontario. Virginia Spiderwort was introduced to Europe in 1629, where it is cultivated as a garden flower.
The Western Spiderwort T. occidentalis is listed as an endangered species in Canada, where the northernmost populations of the species are found at a few sites in southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta; it is however more common further south in the United States south to Texas and Arizona.
The three species of Wandering Jew, one native to eastern Mexico, also belong to the Tradescantia genus. Other names used for various species include Spider-lily, Cradle-lily, Oyster-plant and Flowering Inch Plant.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Zebrina (name refers to the striped leaves). Commelinaceae. One of the species, the wandering Jew, is a very common greenhouse plant, much used for baskets and for covering the ground underneath benches.
Differs from Tradescantia chiefly in the fact that the corolla is tubular (petals not free); stamens 6, equal; fls. few, sessile, in 2 conduplicate bracts.—Two species, Mex. and Texas.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Tradescantia (named for John Tradescant, gardener to Charles I; died about 1638). Commelinaceae. Spiderwort. Perennial hardy herbs, varying greatly in habit from erect and bushy to trailing and rooting at the nodes, grown for their ornamental value both out-of-doors and in the greenhouse.
Stems simple or diffusely branched: lvs. various: cymes simple, sometimes umbellate or densely paniculate: fls. more or less pedicelled, few or numerous, rarely solitary, red, blue, or white; sepals distinct, concave, green or colored; petals distinct, obovate or orbicular; stamens 6, all usually perfect; ovary 3-celled with 2 superposed ovules: caps. loculicidally dehiscent.— About 90 species, all American, ranging from Manitoba to Argentina. The genus was monographed in 1881 by C. B. Clarke (DC. Monogr. Phaner. 3). The genus Zebrina, usually confounded with this by gardeners, differs, among other things, in having a tubular perianth.
To horticulturists, tradescantias are known as hardy herbs, coolhouse plants, and warmhouse plants. T. virginiana is the best known of the hardy species, withstanding the climate of the northern states. The wandering Jew of greenhouses and hanging-baskets, usually known as T. tricolor, is partly T. fluminensis and partly Zebrina pendula. T. Reginae is perhaps the best known warmhouse species at present, although various species may be expected in botanic gardens and the collections of amateurs. The glasshouse species are essentially foliage plants. Several species have handsomely striped leaves. All tradescantias are free growers, propagating with ease from cuttings of the growing shoots.
T. aureo-striata, Hort., is offered in the trade as a form with green lvs. striped with yellow.—T. bengalensis, Hort., occurs in the trade, having small, red, fleshy lvs. and blue fls.—T. crassifolia, Cav. (T. iridescens, Lindl.). Something like T. virginiana, but lvs. short and broad, oblong-ovate, ciliate, as also the st.: fls. 1 1/2 in. across, blue-purple, in terminal and axillary sessile umbels, the stamens all equal. Mex. B.M. 1598. G.W. 7, p. 91.—T. Crassula, Link & Otto. Somewhat succulent, ascending: lvs. thick, oblong and nearly or quite obtuse, glabrous except on the edges: fls. about 1/4 – 1/2 in. across, white, in terminal and lateral often stalked umbels, the calyx and pedicels hairy. Brazil. B.M. 2935. L.B.C. 10:1560. —T. decora, Bull. Foliage plant: lvs. long-lanceolate, dark olive-green, with a central gray band. Brazil.—T. discolor is Rhoeo discolor, which see.—T. dracaenaefolia. "A noble and rapid-growing plant, with luxuriant and handsome foliage. The lvs. in many respects resemble a dracaena and are a deep green, marked with chocolate or black. . . . When fully grown the plant will send out long runners, bearing out tufts of lvs. at the end." John Lewis Childs, catalogue 1900.—T. laekenensis, Hort., is offered in the trade as a form with green and pink lvs. —T. lanceolata, Hort., is offered in the trade as having large, green, downy lvs.—T. multicolor, Hort. See Zebrina.—T. quadricolor, Hort. See Zebrina,—T. spathacea, Swartz., equals Rhoeo discolor.—T. superba, Lind. & Rod., has oval-oblong acuminate, sessile lvs., which are dark metallic green with a white band on either side of midrib and are purple beneath. Peru. I.H. 39:155: 40:173, Fig 6. Gt. 40, p. 163. Perhaps not a Tradescantia.—T. thuringia, Hort., is said to have green-and-white lvs.; offered in the trade.—T. variegata, Hort., is Rhoeo discolor var. vittata.—T. versicolor, Salisb., is Rhoeo discolor.—T. vulgaris, Hort., occurs in the trade.—T. zebrina, Hort., is Zebrina pendula. CH
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About 70, includingwp:
synonyms = Setcreasea
Hoverfly at Tradescantia flower; note the blue stamen hairs
Front view of leaves of Tradescantia pallida cv. "Purple Heart".
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963
- w:Tradescantia. Some of the material on this page may be from Wikipedia, under the Creative Commons license.
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