Common Spiderwort
(
Tradescantia ohiensis)

The early settlers thought that the filaments on the blossom looked like spider webs.  Another common name is 'cow-slobber' because the stem contains a slimy substance. 

  • The old English word for healing herb is 'wort.' This gives a hint that the plant was used in traditional herbal medicine.
  • The scientific name is in honor of John Tradescant, who was the head gardener for Charles I of England.
  • Tradescantia's flowers can be dark blue, light blue, pink or white.  In all cases, the blossoms last for a single day.
  • The seeds are edible when roasted though they are bitter.  The leaves and flowers can be added to salads and soups.
  • Dried, powdered leaves were once used to stop nosebleeds.

(Photo credits: Kansas State University Wildflower Archive)

Updated, December, 2016