Tradescantia ohiensis, Ohio Spiderwort

Tradescantia ohiensis, Ohio Spiderwort. The most wide-ranging spiderwort in North America, found through the eastern United States, north to Massachusetts. Note the ink-like dew-drops from the day's emerging blossoms. Tradescantia is named for John Tradescant, gardener to Charles I. Look very close at the flowers and notice that the filaments of the stamens have hairs, up to ½ in. long. Look even closer, and be amazed. The stamen hairs consist of an elongated chain of 20-35 cells—so large that they can actually be seen by the naked eye (if you’re young), and easily seen with a 10X or 20X hand lens. The spiderwort was chosen as a passenger of the first United States biosatellite sent up in the late 1960s to explore the effects of weightlessness on living organisms. Spiderwort species used by indigenous for female, kidney, and stomach ailments, and as a laxative. Smashed plant (leaf poultice) applied to insect bites, stings, and cancers.

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