Spiderwort
Spiderwort
Terry Bonace
Beverly Shores Environmental Restoration Group
Spiderwort
Spiderwort with puccoon,
Beverly Shores lakefront

Yellow and blue go nicely together, as attested to by the flags of many countries. So we are lucky to have blue and yellow plants adorn our roadsides in May and June: the common spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) a blue-flowered native plant, and hairy puccoon (Lithospermum caroliniense). You can read about the latter elsewhere on our website. You can't miss spiderwort—it pops up throughout Beverly Shores.

Indeed, in spring and summer, the sunniest roadsides are painted blue with an abundance of common spiderwort. Everyone will recognize this flower, as it is grows in great numbers along Beverly Drive, sunny sections of U.S. 12, Lake Front Drive, and so many other places. On a sunny day, you must get up in the morning to enjoy this pretty flower because the blossoms close by afternoon. Each blossom lasts only one day but each plant has many blossoms. This allows a long blooming period of more than a month. When a blossom dies, it turns into a mucous-like mass. Threads of this stringy mucous can be stretched into something resembling a spider web glistening with dew. This is one possible explanation for the name “spiderwort.” The “wort” part of the name comes from the Old English word, “wyrt,” meaning simply plant. Generally when “wort” is preceded by another name, this suggests that the plant was used for treatment for a problem associated with the preceding name. So spiderwort may have once been used to treat spider bites. This plant adapts well to gardens. It is best grown in masses where the blue blossoms will stand out. It is very deer resistant (but with the deer population in Beverly Shores high, anything goes). Spiderwort belongs to the spiderwort family and in North America, besides for a few other less common spiderwort species, this family has only two other species, both called dayflower. Dayflower, if you spend much time weeding gardens or wandering alleyways in Chicago, you will certainly have come across. Its leaves resemble those of the “wandering Jew,” (also known as inch plant or tradescantia, a close tropical cousin used as an ornamental in hanging baskets) and its small blue flowers stand out only when you have seriously neglected your weeding chores

Enjoy the bounty of wildflowers that grow in our neighborhood. We are fortunate to live with such diversity.

Spiderwort
Beverly Shores Environmental Restoration Group,
P.O. Box 667, Beverly Shores, IN 46301