Scientific Name: Tradescantia ohiensis
Native early summer perennial favoring slightly dry to moist habitats. Often found along the south side of ditches, in prairies and in meadows.
Watch for: Thick, round stem, about 2-4 feet tall with long, linear leaves up to 15″. The flowers bloom from May-July, are light to blue violet and occur in small clusters at the top of the plant. Each flower has 3 rounded petals, 6 bright yellow anthers, and fine violet hairs near the base. Also look for two small, green bracts under every flower.
Other names: Confederate spiderwort, Bluejacket
History: Spiderworts are native throughout the United States, but the Ohio Spiderwort is only found in the Central and Eastern US. The most important pollinators of the flowers are bumblebees, but other visitors include Halictine bees, deer, rabbits, box turtles and livestock as the foliage is not toxic. Leaves and stems are edible, so eat up!
Tidbits: Ohio Spiderwort is a smart plant as the flowers opens up during the morning and close in the early afternoon before the sun gets too intense. They’ll stay open longer if it’s a cloudy day but if you want to see the flower in full bloom you better check it out before it gets too hot!
Gardens/Cultivation: This Spiderwort requires full or partial sun and prefers moist soil conditions. However, it is very adaptable and will survive in loam, clay, gravel or sand soil. Leaves may develop brown blotches or turn yellow in response to harsh weather, competition or old age.
Illinois Wildflower. Ohio Spiderwort. http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info
Prairie Moon. http://www.prairiemoon.com