Tradescantia ernestiana E.S. Andrs. & Woods.

Tradescantia ernestiana plant

Family - Commelinaceae

Stems - To +30cm long(tall), herbaceous, with thickened fleshy roots, erect, simple, glabrous or very sparsely pubescent.

Leaves - Dense on the stem, alternate, glabrous, to 25cm long, 4cm broad, entire, with undulate margins, attenuate, sheathing at the base, with parallel venation. Sheaths to +/-2cm broad.

Tradescantia ernestiana leaf

Inflorescence - Terminal fascicle of +/-15 flowers blooming 1-3 at a time. Pedicels to 3.5cm long, glabrous or with a few pilose hairs near apex, erect in flower, nodding in fruit.

Flowers - Petals pinkish-purple to blue, glabrous, +/-1.5cm long and broad, ovate, with slightly crisped margins. Stamens 6, erect. Filaments with purple multicellular pubescence. Anthers yellow, 2-lobed, 2.1mm broad, 1.4mm long. Ovary 3-locular, white, glabrous, 3-angled. Placentation axile. Style purple, glabrous, 6-7mm long. Sepals 3, lance-ovate, green, cupped, ciliate, to 1.4cm long, 6-7mm broad.

Tradescantia ernestiana calyxCalyx.

Tradescantia ernestiana flower

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Mesic upland woods, streambanks, ravines, shaded bluffs.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This striking species is found in a handful of southern Ozark counties. The plant is smaller than most others in the genus but has good-sized flowers.
T. ernestiana has a short flowering season but would still make a good shade garden specimen if adequate moisture could be provided.

Photographs taken at the Noblett Lake Recreational Area, Douglas County, MO., 4-15-01.