Spiderwort flowers have a very short life – only a single morning – but each plant will produce 20 or more flowers per stem. The petals quickly decompose after blooming.

With their flower parts in threes (three petals and six stamens), Spiderworts show they are in the Monocot class. Other typical monocots are lilies, irises, orchids and grasses. Monocot is short for monocotyledon, meaning “single seed leaf”. That amazing little package of life we call a seed contains an embryonic root (the radicle) and an embryonic stem (the plumule) with either one or two seed leaves (cotyledons) attached to it.
The seed leaves are the first thing to pop out of the ground when a seed germinates. They usually look quite different from the true leaves that the plant produces next. The seed leaves not only begin photosynthesis so the plant can prosper, but they also carry a quantity of stored food for the baby plant. The majority of families of higher plants are Dicots. When one of their seeds germinates, it produces a pair of seed leaves and their flower parts are in multiples of four or five.

Break the tip off a spiderwort leaf and wait for a drop of sap to appear, then touch it with your fingertip and notice how far you can stretch a thread of sap. This resemblance to a spider’s silk may explain where its name came from. The gooey quality of the sap definitely explains its familiar nickname of “cow slobber”.

The stems, leaves and flowers of spiderworts are edible. The herbage may be eaten raw or added to stews. The flowers (which may be either pink, blue or rose-purple) make an attractive edible garnish for salads.

Spiderworts are one of the native wildflowers that have made their way into the nursery trade. They may also be easily propagated from stem cuttings or seeds. They make an interesting addition to the home landscape. The genus of spiderworts is named for John Tradescant, who was gardener for King Charles I of England. He grew them from seed brought back from America and spiderworts are still popular in English gardens today.
Taken by the beach trail in Hamilton Ontario Canada with the Nikon D60 and the 55-200mm Nikkor lens.

“You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus” – Mark Twain

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  • Mike Oxley
    Mike Oxleyover 4 years ago

    Great find, Deb. A new one to me! What a lovely shot of this beautiful wee flower and a very interesting read to go with it. Very nicely done!

  • Thanks so much, Mike! These ones just “popped out” at me. They were hiding in the leaves of tiger lillies (not yet blooming).

    – deb cole

  • Brian Carey
    Brian Careyover 4 years ago

    Great colors!

  • Thank you, Brian! That’s what caught my eye in the first place!!

    – deb cole

  • Hans Bax
    Hans Baxover 4 years ago

    Wonderful, Deb! Love it!

  • Thanks so very much, Hans!!
    Cheers to you, too! :)

    – deb cole

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47over 4 years ago

    A while back, someone else posted a spiderwart pic. That brought back a tucked away memory of a little garden patch I had as a kid – in fact my sister & I each had little plots, about 4 feet square. The ONLY thing that would reliably grow for me was spiderwort. And I STILL have a brown thumb…. But I love this wee beauty.

  • I may have to go back and pocket some of the seeds and plant them, then. My thumb is likely as brown as yours. If I have any living indoor plants, it’s probably because they like dry dirt!

    – deb cole

  • jwmphotos
    jwmphotosover 4 years ago

    Such a beautiful flower.

  • Thanks so very much, John!

    – deb cole

  • artsandherbs
    artsandherbsover 4 years ago

    gorgeous blue !

  • Thank you so much, Mieke! They were a gorgeous colour!

    – deb cole

  • Tracy Faught
    Tracy Faughtover 4 years ago

    How stunning Deb!!! Instant fave!! I’m still having MAJOR computer problems…so I’ll be around when I can…miss you!!!!!!!!!!!! :]

  • Aww. thank you, Tracy!! Sorry to hear about your ‘puter probs! Hopefully they’ll iron themselves out, soon!!

    – deb cole

  • SusanP-MI
    SusanP-MIover 4 years ago

    this is beautiful

  • Thank you so much, Susan! They were quite lovely!!

    – deb cole

  • lorilee
    lorileeover 4 years ago

    P R E T T Y

  • Thank you so much, Lori!! (I missed this one somehow). :))

    – deb cole

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