Tradescantia sp.

Plant Family.......... Commelinaceae (Spiderwort) ... Plant Height ....3 Feet
Leaf Arrangement..Opposite

Habitat.............Open Areas
Bloom Date............June

Flower Color....Blue

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Tall Spiderwort is perennial and grows in meadows, roadsides and deciduous woods. It is a tall version of the lower growing species that blooms much earlier in the season. It is shade and sun tolerant. It grows from a rhizome and forms one to three foot clumps. The flowers grow in a terminal cluster and have three rounded petals, and are various shades of blue and purple. The flowers have gold colored stamens, which are surrounded by dense blue hairs. Like the smaller species, the flowers open in the morning and melt away in the afternoon. An enzyme contained in the flower causes the flower to decompose into a slimy gel. This occurrence gives the plant alternate names of widow's tears, Job's tears and cow slobber. More flowers develop each day to provide a long blooming season. Many patches of tall spiderwort can be seen at the Huntsville Botanical Garden in June. One of the suggested reasons for the common name is that the arching stems look like the legs of a spider. This effect can be seen in Image 1.

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