Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Tradescantia occidentalis, Prairie Spiderwort

Tradescantia occidentalis, Prairie Spiderwort, Southwest Desert Flora Tradescantia occidentalis, Prairie Spiderwort, Southwest Desert Flora Tradescantia occidentalis, Prairie Spiderwort, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Tradescantia occidentalis
Common Name: Prairie Spiderwort
Also Called: Spiderwort, Western Spiderwort
Family: Commelinaceae, Dayflower or Spiderwort Family
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: 24 inches.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; erect or ascending; stems branching, glabrous.
Leaves: Green; long linear, narrow or lanceolate.
Flower Color: Blue, purple or violet; flowers in clusters on tips of branches, axillary, 6 stamens with distinctive yellow anthers, blooms last a day and flowers close early.
Flowering Season: April to September.
Elevation: 2,500 to 7,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Sandy soils, various habitat types, upper Sonoran desert but mostly found in higher elevations with woodlands.

Recorded Range: Central portions of the United States and Canada and New York and New Jersey; USA: AR AZ, CO, IA, KS, LA, MN, MT, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OK, SD, TX, UT, WI and WY and Canada: AB, MB and SK. Possibly in northern Mexico.
In Arizona Prairie Spiderwort in found in the central part of state in northern, central and southern areas.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Tradescantia occidentalis.

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.

Wetland Indicator: In North America Tradescantia occidentalis is included on the USDA 2012 National Wetland Plant List as a: (FACU) Facultative Upland, usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands; (UPL) Obligate Upland, almost never occur in wetlands and (FACW) Facultative Wetland, usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands species.

Threatened/Endangered Information: Tradescantia occidentalis is listed as a threatened species in Canada.

Genus Information: 32 species in Tradescantia in the United States, 2 species in Arizona. 3 varieties in Tradescantia occidentalis, 2 varieties in Arizona:
Tradescantia occidentalis var. melanthera, Prairie Spiderwort (AR, LA, OK and TX)
Tradescantia occidentalis var. occidentalis, Prairie Spiderwort (see Recorded Range above) and
Tradescantia occidentalis var. scopulorum, Prairie Spiderwort (AZ, CO, NM and UT).

Comments: Prairie Spiderwort is a species found throughout the central portions of the United States and Canada in prairies and open woodlands. Species in Arizona mark the southwestern limits of the type species although 2 varieties; "scopulorum", and "melanthera", have distributions limited to the southwest and south central United States.

Prairie Spiderwort is similar in appearance to Whitemouth Dayflower, Commelina erecta.

Date Profile Completed: 3/29/2015, rev. 07/22/2015, updated format 10/11/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
Robert B. Faden, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 22 Page 173| Commelinaceae, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed3/29/2015).
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 3/29/2015]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Tradescantia occidentalis', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 October 2014, 06:37 UTC, [accessed 29 March 2015]
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,