Virginia Spiderwort Virginia Spiderwort Virginia Spiderwort Virginia Spiderwort

What are they?

The spiderworts are members of the family Commelinaceae. This is a largely tropical and sub-tropical group of plants that can be identified by their three-petalled flowers, their fleshy, slightly succulent stems and leaves and - often - by their creeping or trailing habit.

Where are they found?

In cultivation, spiderworts are mostly used as indoor plants due to their tender nature, but some members of the genus Tradescantia are grown outdoors as herbaceous perennials. Just occasionally, these plants find their way onto roadsides and rough ground but tend not to thrive for long in such places.


Just a single plant in this family has been recorded in the wider countryside in East Anglia and it is readily identified when in flower (although see the note below about hybrids).

Virginia Spiderwort      Tradescantia virginiana

Introduced as a garden plant from North America and recorded three times in Cambridgeshire and once in Suffolk as a garden throw-out or escape. Flowers July to September. Forms a tufted clump of grass-like leaves to 60cm in height. The flowers appear in loose clusters, typically opening one or two at a time and may be blue, white, pink or purple. True Virginia Spiderwort should have leaves 5-15mm wide and sepals that are clearly covered in non-glandular hairs. Many cultivated plants vary from these (especially showing more or less hairless sepals and wider leaves) and are likely to be hybrids which may involve T. virginiana, T. ohiensis and T. subaspera, but these hybrids apparently have no legitimate scientific name.

Virginia Spiderwort Virginia Spiderwort Virginia Spiderwort Virginia Spiderwort