Ohio Spiderwort

Common Name: Ohio Spiderwort.

Scientific Name: Tradescantia Ohiensis.

What to look for?  Three lovely violet or blue petals! The primary stem of the Ohio Spiderwort is topped by groups of blue or purplish, three-petaled flowers. Accenting these flowers, there are 6 yellow stamens and spidery violet hairs toward the center. Each flower opens up during the morning and closes during the early afternoon on sunny days. The leaves are dark or olive green.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? From late spring and through summer, you can find the Ohio Spiderwort scattered around the walking path going north along Carillon Stonegate Ponds and the fields adjacent to the woodlands.

How big are they? Ohio Spiderwort grow to as much as two and one-half feet tall. The leaves are up to twelve inches long and one inch across. Each flowerhead is approximately two inches across.

Where do they grow and thrive? The Ohio Spiderwort is native to Eastern U.S. (essentially east of the Great Plains) and is fairly common across most of Illinois. Habitats include moist prairies, savannas, thickets, openings and edges of woodlands. The Ohio Spiderwort prefers areas with trees and shrubby vegetation.

When do they bloom? The Ohio Spiderwort blooms from late spring to mid-summer, lasting some two months. Interestingly, during this time, the flowers bloom sporadically rather than all at once. And, the flowers open only in the morning, close by mid-day and the petals then wilt away. The next day new flowers will open.

Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? Bumblebees are the most important pollinators of the flowers of the Ohio Spiderwort. Other visitors include several other types of bees as well as flower flies.

Interesting Facts About the Ohio Spiderwort:

  • While the Ohio Spiderwort has a lovely flower, there is no floral scent.

  • Spiderwort plants go semi-dormant during the heat of summer.

  • Spiderworts are so named because the angular leaf arrangement suggests a squatting spider.

  • The genus is named after John Tradescant (1608-1662) who served as gardener to Charles I of England.

  • The leaves and stems are supposed to be edible – fresh or cooked.

For more information on the Ohio Spiderwort and sources of information used in this blog (these are several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois Wildflowers, University of Texas Wildflower Center, Missouri Botanical Gardens, and Minnesota Wildflowers.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.

 

Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!