This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Tradescantia bracteata Small; Britt. & Br. 111. Fl. 3: 510. 1898.
Perennial, deep green, glabrous to the inflorescence, or nearly so. Stems erect, 4'-12' tall, simple or sparingly branched; leaves linear to linear-lanceolate, 4'-8' long, long-acuminate; sheaths paler than the leaf-blades, conspicuously ribbed, glabrous, or the upper ones sometimes ciliate; involucres of 2 bracts, these broader than the leaves, more or less strongly saccate at the base, ciliate and often sparingly villous on the back; umbellike cymes few-flowered; pedicels glandular-pubescent, 1/2'-1' long; sepals ovate-lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, glandular, more or less involute; corolla blue or reddish, about 1' broad.
T. virginiana occidentalis Britton; Britt. & Brown, 111. Fl. 377. 1896.
Mostly glabrous to the inflorescence, bright green. Stems solitary, erect, 1°-21/2° tall, simple; leaves linear, 8-12' long, involutely folded, curved; sheaths 5"-20" long, conspicuously ribbed, rarely with a few cilia; bracts of the involucre 2, linear, slightly unequal; pedicels rather slender, 5"-10" long; sepals oblong or elliptic, apparently lanceolate by the involute edges, 4"-5" long, glandular-pilose; petals blue or reddish, almost 5" long, orbicular-ovate; capsules obovoid or oblong, 2 1/2"-3" long, puberulent at the apex; seeds 1 1/2" long, pitted and ridged.
On sand-hills, Iowa to Texas, South Dakota and Colorado. June-Aug.
Tradescantia virginiana L. Sp. PI. 288. 1753.
Glabrous or slightly pubescent, succulent, glaucous or green, stems stout, 8'-3° tall. Leaves more or less channeled, or in some forms nearly flat, linear or linear-lanceolate, long-acuminate, often more than 1° long, 4"-1' wide; bracts folia-ceous, commonly rather wider and shorter than the leaves; umbels solitary and terminal or rarely 2-4, loosely several-many-flowered; pedicels glabrous or pubescent, slender; flowers blue or purplish, rarely white, 1'-2' broad, very showy; sepals oblong or oblong-lanceolate, acute or obtuse, glabrous or pubescent, 4"-10" long, much longer than the capsule.
In rich soil, mostly in woods and thickets, southern New York to Ohio and South Dakota, south to Virginia, Kentucky and Arkansas. Escaped from cultivation farther north. Ascends to 4000 ft. in Virginia. Spider-lily. May-Aug.