Tradescantia occidentalis – Prairie Spiderwort

Tradescantia occidentalis - Prairie Spiderwort, Western Spiderwort

Tradescantia occidentalis - Prairie Spiderwort, Western Spiderwort

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Tradescantia occidentalis

Common Names: Prairie Spiderwort, Western Spiderwort

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert, Upland, Mountain, Riparian

Flower Color: Blue to violet, Pink to magenta

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Height: To 3 feet (91 cm) tall

Description: The flowers are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and have 3 broad, triangular petals with pointed tips, hairy stamen filaments, glandular-hairy to hairless, 4 to 10 mm long sepals, and 0.8 to 3 cm long pedicels (stems that attach the flower to the main flower stalk). The leaves clasp the stems and are long, green, linear, folded, and grass-like.

The similar Pinewoods Spiderwort (Tradescantia pinetorum) is a more sparse, slender plant that only grows in upland and mountain areas and has flowers with glandular-hairy, typically shorter, narrower sepals and shorter pedicels. Birdbill Dayflower (Commelina dianthifolia) has flowers with boat-like spathes and hairless stamen filaments. Whitemouth Dayflower (Commelina erecta) has flowers with boat-like spathes, hairless stamen filaments, and only 2 blue petals.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Subclass: Commelinidae
Order: Commelinales
Family: Commelinaceae – Spiderwort family
Genus: Tradescantia L. – spiderwort
Species: Tradescantia occidentalis (Britton) Smyth – prairie spiderwort

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map