Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's Either A Weed Or Itsnot.

This floppy plant with pretty flowers popped up last summer in one of my perennial beds; it's a tradescantia... probably T. ohiensis, the common spiderwort, because of its bluish-green, narrow leaves. However, I'm not sure if it's truly a wild tradescantia, or a cultivated variety that rode into the garden with something else; the flowers are a little more light, lilac purple than what we usually see in the wild plants. There are several spiderworts found growing in Iowa, and there are at least fifty species altogether, ranging from southern Canada to Argentina. When I was a boy, we delighted in these plants, finding them growing frequently in disturbed spots of sunny, rough grass. We called them snot weeds, and always broke off a stem to see the sticky, mucinous sap that gave them their name. In the garden, the flowers are individually pretty, but the plants are infernally floppy, so I've never thought they are much of a border plant. For sentimental reasons, I've spared this plant... whether it's a weed or itsnot.Posted by Picasa

If they are in full sun, mine aren't floppy. I cut them back pretty hard after the first bloom and they come back sturdier and bluer!
Love me a good wort!
Sissy... maybe hybrids bred for sturdiness?? The wild ones are pretty lax.
We always called the spiderworts snot weed also! I dug some up along a railroad track, not sure if that is legal but they reminded me of younger days picking snot weed :).
Well, if somebody stopped you and claimed that you just dug up some tradescantia, you could say "No, itsnot."
Growing up in Ottumwa, we had a yard full of tradescantia. We squeezed them to get ink, then wrote on bark torn from the birch trees, using a pointed stick.
We felt this was how the Indians communicated! Now with a San Diego garden, I have them too, for semtimental reasons -- I have the traditional blue, lilac, white with lilac borders, and pink. I love them Out here they don't flop, but stand tall and proud.

Jean Leinhauser
If you don't want them there, it's a weed. If you like them where they are, they're a lovely feral addition to your garden.
Jean... Wow; writing with the goo... that's a new one to me... we just smeared it on each other!
Peggy... feral plant; I like that.

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