Tradescantia ohiensis Raf.

smooth spiderwort

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Smooth spiderwort is native to much of the eastern half of the United States, including Connecticut and Massachusetts. It is also present in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, but in these states it is not considered native.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf arrangement
whorled: there are three or more leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade shape
  • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
  • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
Leaf blade length
50–450 mm
Flower petal color
  • blue to purple
  • pink to red
  • white
Flower petal length
8–20 mm
Petal fusion
the perianth parts are separate
Inflorescence type
  • the flowers grow out of the axil (point where a branch or leaf is attached to the main stem)
  • the inflorescence is a dichasial cyme (an axis with a terminal flower, below it a pair of branches, each with a terminal flower, these branches may in turn have a pair of branches and so on)
Ovary position
the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
Fruit type (specific)
the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
Fruit length
4–6 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Axillary bulblets
    there are no bulblets being produced in axils
  • Flowers
    Anther attachment
    the anther is attached by its base to the filament
    Anther color
    the anthers show no hint of a pink, reddish or purplish tint
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused (the number of carpels equals the number of locules)
    Filament surface
    the filament surface has rough hairs or scales on it
    Flower bracts
    there are bracts associated with the flower
    Flower orientation
    • the flowers curve or droop downwards
    • the flowers point upward or spread or curve outward
    Flower petal color
    • blue to purple
    • pink to red
    • white
    Flower petal length
    8–20 mm
    Flower shape
    • the flower is cup-shaped
    • the flower is flattened or platter-shaped
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Form of style
    • the style is knob-like at the tip, and unbranched
    • the style is narrow at the tip and unbranched
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Hairs on flower stalk
    the flower stalk has no hairs on it
    Inflorescence hair glands
    the axis of the inflorescence has no hairs on it
    Inflorescence type
    • the flowers grow out of the axil (point where a branch or leaf is attached to the main stem)
    • the inflorescence is a dichasial cyme (an axis with a terminal flower, below it a pair of branches, each with a terminal flower, these branches may in turn have a pair of branches and so on)
    Length of flower stalk
    7–30 mm
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    3
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals and/or petals
    there are six petals, sepals or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    the petal narrows gradually or does not narrow at the base
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are separate
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are no hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal nectaries
    the petals do not have nectaries
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble leaves in color and texture
    Sepal length
    4–15 mm
    Sepal orientation
    the sepals are slightly curved outwards from the plant
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spathe
    the plant has a spathe surrounding the flower spike
    Spathe form
    • NA
    • the spathe just wraps around the base of the spike of flowers
    Stamen number
    6
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamen types
    the stamens within a cycle are all similar
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not fused to one another
    Stamens fused outwards
    the stamens are not fused to the petals or tepals
    Style petal-like
    the style is not broad and flattened like a petal
    Tepals
    the petals and sepals are different in size and color
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule ridges
    there are three ribs or wings on the capsule
    Fruit compartments
    there are three locules in the fruit
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is round in cross-section
    Fruit length
    4–6 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Other markings on berry
    NA
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Root septa
    the roots do not have transverse septa
    Underground organs
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    • the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    • the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    • the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    • the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    whorled: there are three or more leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade basal lobes
    the leaf blades do not have basal lobes
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf blade clasps the stem at the base, or the leaf blade goes all the way around the stem, so that the stem appears to pierce the leaf blade
    • the leaf has no stalk
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is rounded
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf blade has a noticeable waxy or powdery bloom
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section
    Leaf blade faces
    both surfaces of the leaf blade are exposed
    Leaf blade form
    Fully-formed (i.e., expanded), +/- green leaf blades are found somewhere on the plant
    Leaf blade length
    50–450 mm
    Leaf blade orientation
    the edge of the leaf blade faces the stem of the plant
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade tip
    the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    Leaf blade veins
    the lateral veins are parallel or slightly arched in the direction of the tip
    Leaf blade width
    4–45 mm
    Leaf stalk length
    0 mm
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Leaflet number
    0
    Stipule twining
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on this plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the leaves have no particular smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem growth form
    the flowering stem is held upright
    Flowering stem leaves
    there is at least one fully-formed leaf on the flowering stem
    Stem hairs
    • the stem has hairs on it
    • the stem is nearly or completely hairless

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
New Hampshire
unrankable (S-rank: SU), Ind (code: Ind)

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Synonyms

  • Tradescantia canaliculata Raf.
  • Tradescantia foliosa Small
  • Tradescantia incarnata Small
  • Tradescantia ohiensis Raf. var. foliosa (Small) MacRoberts
  • Tradescantia reflexa Raf.

Family

Commelinaceae

Genus

Tradescantia

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Tradescantia ohiensis Raf. n

smooth spiderwort. Tradescantia canaliculata Raf.; T. foliosa Small; T. incarnata Small; 
 T. ohiensis Raf. var. foliosa (Small) MacRoberts; T. reflexa Raf. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Fields, roadsides, disturbed rights-of-way, areas of cultivation. This species is native in CT and 
MA and non-native in ME, NH, RI, VT.

2×3. Tradescantia ohiensis × Tradescantia virginiana A relatively common spiderwort hybrid that is known from CT, MA, ME, NH. 
It can be identified by the presence of sparse pubescence on the pedicels and/or 
sepals (not including an apical tuft of hairs) vs. moderate to dense pubescence in Tradescantia virginiana.

Tradescantia subaspera Ker-Gawl. is a very rare spiderwort hybrid likely originating from a garden planting. It is known from MA. It has glandular hairs on 
the sepals.