Tradescantia longipes E.S. Anderson & Woodson


CC = 8
CW = 5
MOC = 20

© SRTurner

Family - Commelinaceae

Habit - Perennial forb with thickened, fleshy roots.

Stem - Erect, 2-10 cm long, densely long-hairy.

Leaves - Basal and alternate, 14-25 cm long, linear, as broad as or narrower than the sheaths, deep green, irregularly hairy, especially toward the tips.

Tradescantia_longipes_leaves1.jpg Leaves.

© SRTurner

Tradescantia_longipes_leaves2.jpg Base of leaves. Hairiness is variable.

© SRTurner

Inflorescences - Terminal. Flower stalks 30-60 mm long, conspicuously pubescent with a mixture of nonglandular and minutely gland-tipped hairs.

Tradescantia_longipes_inflorescence.jpg The stem of this species is very short and not readily visible. The flowers are thus borne down among the leaf bases.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Sepals 3, 8-10 mm long, green, often pink-or purple-tinged, herbaceous or somewhat membranous, densely pubescent with a mixture of nonglandular and minutely gland-tipped hairs, these often somewhat sticky when fresh. Petals 3, equal, 10-15 mm long, broadly obovate, bright purple or reddish pink, less commonly blue or light pink.

Tradescantia_longipes_flower1.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Tradescantia_longipes_calyx.jpg Calyx.

© SRTurner

Tradescantia_longipes_flower2.jpg Flower, lateral view.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Capsules 4-8 mm long, ovoid, 3-locular. Seeds 3-6 per capsule, 2-3 mm long, oblong to ovoid and somewhat flattened with a depression on 1 side, the surfaces undulate to bluntly several-ribbed.

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Rocky, upland forests in ravines and on slopes, glades, fields, on acidic substrates.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - Broadly, other species of Tradescantia.

Other info. - Missouri has no recognized endemic species, but this plant is close. It is found only in Missouri's Ozarks and in the Ouachita mountains of Arkansas. It is easily recognized by its symmetrical, 3-parted purple or pink flowers, strap-like leaves, and the virtual absence of a stem. The flowers are borne down among the leaf bases instead of above the leaves on a long stalk, as with most other species in the genus. The flower stalks and sepals are glandular.

The species has been known to hybridize with T. ohiensis, though this is uncommon.

Photographs taken at Ouachita National Forest, Montgomery County, AR, 5-7-2015, and southeast of Crane Lake, Iron County, MO, 4-13-2017 (SRTurner).