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Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Tradescantia occidentalis - prairie spiderwort

Other Common Names: western spiderwort
Plant Form: Forb

Family: Commelinaceae

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Max Licher @
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Perennial
General Desc: Unusual looking mostly erect plant with exotic looking flowers that open in the morning and often wilt by noon on hot days.
Identification notes: Roots thick but not tuber-like; stem stout, glabrous; leaf sheaths glabrous; leaves long and narrow; flowers pale purple in mostly terminal clusters sometimes axillary, clusters opening from the center outward, petals broadly ovate.
Height: To 30 inches


Habitat Description: Riparian habitats, rocky hillsides in grasslands, chaparral, oak and pine-oak forest to ponderosa pine on granitic and limestone substrate.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Montane Conifer Forest, Riparian
Elevation: 2500 - 7000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Pink, purple, blue     Shape: Regular in elongated clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: Apr - Sep
Description: 3 (rarely 4) equal-sized petals, to 1 inch wide, in clusters of up to 10 flowers at tip of stems.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Bluish-green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Narrow     Leaf Margin: Smooth     Leaf Attachment: Alternate     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: No     Spines: N
Leaf Description: Grass-like, arching, 6 to 15 inches long, 3/8 inch wide, clasping the stem at the base; each leaf has long parallel veining and is folded lengthwise forming a V-groove. Stems contain slimy sap.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Type: Capsule
Fruit Notes: Slightly more than 1/4 inch long.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
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