Wandering Jew

Tradescantia virginiana
Family Commelinaceae

* Flowers in a single cluster at the end of the stem. 3 violet petals, rounded, symmetric petals. Golden stamens.
* Long, sword-like leaves, opposite, and perpendicular to the stem.
* Height: 10-18".

Natural History:
* Flowers April - July.
* Habitat: Forest edges, roadsides, fields.
* Range: Northern United States.
* Native, but often cultivated.

* John Tradescant, Tradescantia's namesake, sailed on Sir Robert Maxwell's 1620 voyage to fight the Barbary pirates. After retiring from the high seas, he established a garden in Lambeth, England and later became gardener to King Charles 1.

* As for the common name's origin, 'Spiderwort' could have arisen because sap from the broken stem forms spider web-like filaments. The angular leaf arrangement, suggesting a squatting spider, suggests another possible origin for the name.


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008