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Meadows, thickets, sandy oak savannas, disturbed prairies. Railroad ballast.
MA west to MN, south to FL and TX. Most common in the Midwest.
Herbaceous perennial to 1 m. Stems slender, often branched, glabrous and glaucous. Leaves linear, flat, firm, glabrous, glaucous, under 1 cm wide, usually more than 10 times as long as wide, dilated into the sheath. Flowers in terminal, solitary cymes, subtended by a folded spathe; bracts elongate, resembling the leaves in shape and scarcely differing in size; pedicels 7-25 cm, glabrous; sepals 3, glaucous, glabrous or hairy only at the tip, often red-margined, 8-12 mm; petals 3, blue to rose or white, 1-2 cm; stamens 6, 3 of them fertile.
Flowers mid May to late October
Wetland indicator: Facultative Upland +
Tradescantia virginiana L. (Virginia Spiderwort) is similar but has pedicels and sepals that are conspicuously pubescent.
Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY.
Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.
Michael Hough © 2005