Tradescantia ohiensis (Ohio Spiderwort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Bluejacket
Family:Commelinaceae (Spiderwort)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist prairie, meadows, woodland edges
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:18 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 3-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Racemes of up to 20 flowers form at the top of the stem and at the tips of branches. Flowers are 1 to 1½ inches across, blue to rose or even white with 3 egg shaped petals. Six deep blue stamens with long plume-like hairs and bright yellow tips surround a single slender blue style in the center. Only 1 to a few flowers in a cluster are open at a time.

[photo of sepals] Sepals are oval, mostly hairless, tapered at both ends, offset the petals and are about half the petal length. Two long leaf-like bracts, about as wide as the leaves, cup the flower cluster at their base. Flower stalks are ½ to 1 inch long, smooth, and are erect while flowers bloom but lay back down while seed is set.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are long and grass-like, 8-15 inches and less than ¾ inch wide. Mostly flat but for a grooved mid vein, the base of the leaf wraps around the stem. Stems and leaves are smooth, often with a waxy surface, clumps have multiple stems with branching in the upper plant.


Of Minnesota's 3 native Spiderworts, Ohio Spiderwort is the more eastern species and common only in our most SE counties. Though it tolerates of a wide range of soils and conditions it prefers moister soils than the other 2 species and can be very showy in the home landscape. While all 3 Spiderworts look very similar at first glance, T. ohiensis is the tallest of the 3 and can otherwise be distinguished from the others by its over all lack of any hairs, especially on the sepals in the flower cluster, and the flatter, floppier leaves. Spiderwort varieties in the garden industry can look very similar to wild T. ohiensis in size and shape. They come in a wide range of deep blues and pinks, bicolors or pure white, are typically hybrids of T. ohiensis, T. virginana and T. subspera, and often have very hairy sepals.

Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓

Map of native plant resources in the upper midwest

  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Spangle Creek Labs - Native orchids, lab propagated

More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in a private garden in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Danielle - Coldwater Spring
on: 2013-09-18 14:57:00

Any idea on how long/deep the root system is for Ohio Spiderwort?

Posted by: Patrick - Lake Elmo - Washington County
on: 2016-06-17 10:08:14

I have quite a bit of Ohio Spiderwort on a 20 year old 2 acre restoration. It self propagates.

Posted by: Sharon L Adams - NORTH BRANCH
on: 2018-06-20 07:53:12

I only saw two very small plants blooming along a ditch between a road and walking trail. I've never seen them before and just love them.

Posted by: jesse ross - Welch
on: 2019-06-09 09:25:29

Clusters of them in the ditch edge of a field by Treasure Island Casino .

Posted by: Mary - Dakota County, Rosemount
on: 2019-07-06 12:34:59

My back yard. I got these 3 of about 10 plants 10 years ago, before knowing to leave nature alone, from a place in Eagan. After going back to the same place. The natural ones were gone about 3 years later, but mine have thrived into an 18" dia. patch. These are so much taller than their cousins in southern Illinois. Wish me luck. I'm moving them to a different part of the property.

Posted by: joe - wisconsin
on: 2021-04-20 10:56:00

you may have misspelled "ohioensis" ohiensis

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-04-20 13:06:44

Joe, the scientific name is correctly spelled ohiensis. It is Latin, not English.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.