Perennial, somewhat mucilaginous herbs, with mostly narrow and elongated leaves, and showy regular flowers in terminal or terminal and axillary umbels subtended by leaf-like or scarious bracts. Sepals 3, herbaceous. Petals 3, obovate, ovate or orbicular, sessile. Stamens 6, all alike and fertile, or those opposite the petals shorter; filaments bearded or glabrous. Ovary 3-celled, the cells 2-ovuled. Capsule 3-celled, loculicidally 3-valved, 3-12-seeded. [In honor of John Tradescant, gardener of Charles I, died 1638.]

About 35 species, natives of tropical and temperate America. Besides the following, some 6 others occur in the southern United States. Type species: Tradescantia virginiana L.

Leaves linear or linear-lanceolate, 12-50 times longer than broad.

Stems 1' to rarely 4' long; bracts longer than the leaves.


T. brevicaulis.

Stems elongated, 4'-3° long; bracts mostly shorter than the leaves.

Foliage bright green; pedicels, like the sepals, pilose or villous.

Pedicels and sepals pilose with gland-tipped hairs.

Stems 4'-1° tall; bracts lanceolate, the bases sac-like, whitish, broader than the leaves.


T. bracteata.

Stems 1°-2 1/2° tall; bracts linear, the bases not sac-like, green, narrower than the



T. occidentalis.

Pedicels and sepals villous with non-glandular hairs.


T. virginiana.

Foliage glaucous; pedicels glabrous; sepals with a tuft of hairs at the apex.


T. reflex a.

Leaves lanceolate, 2-10 times longer than broad.

Slender; stems strict; cymes solitary and terminal or on corymbed branches; species Alleghanian.


T. montana.

Stout; stems zigzag; cymes terminal and sessile in the upper axils; species campestrian.


T. pilosa.

3 Tradescantia L Sp Pi 288 1753 1154

1. Tradescantia Brevicaulis Raf. Short-Stemmed Spiderwort

Fig. 1154

Tradescantia brevicaulis Raf. Atl. Journ. 150. 1832. Tradescantia virginica var. villosa S. Wats, in A. Gray, Man. Ed. 6, 539. 1890.

Villous with long spreading hairs, stems only 1'-4' high, the plant often appearing nearly acaulescent; leaves mostly basal, 6'-12' long, 4"-8" wide, grasslike, linear-lanceolate, acuminate, ciliate, at least at the base, glabrous or villous toward the apex; bracts similar to the leaves, but usually more elongated; umbel 4-12-flowered, sessile in the bracts, the pedicels slender, 1'-2' long, villous; sepals oblong; corolla about 1' broad, blue or rose-purple.

In dry soil, Indiana to Kentucky and Missouri. April-May.