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Ohio Spiderwort

Photo by Bob Gress

Common Name: Ohio Spiderwort

Scientific Name: Tradescantia ohiensis

Family: Spiderwort

Longevity: Perennial

Height: 2.5 - 3.5 feet

Bloom Period: May and June

 

Description: Ohio Spiderwort is an upright plant with a bluish, waxy cast. Arched leaves are often 12 inches long. Flowers have three blue petals that wilt in the heat of the day.

Comments: Long, shining strings of juice produced when a stem is broken are reminiscent of a spider web, giving the spiderwort its name. It is also called “widow’s tears” or “cow slobbers” because of this clear, stringy sap. Cattle find the plants palatable and nip them to the ground before they bloom. Heavy grazing eliminates spiderworts from pastures. Spiderworts are edible either raw in salads or cooked as a pot herb. The plants can be easily grown from seed. Ohio Spiderwort is found on open prairies throughout the eastern half of the state.