Blue-jacket, Common Spiderwort, Smooth Spiderwort
or Spiderwort Family
after John Tradescant (1608-1662), English gardener to King Charles I
Blue-jacket, Common Spiderwort,
Smooth Spiderwort. Also known as snotweed or cow-slobbers.
|In early Spring
like a clump of coarse weedy grass with its long pointed leaves before its beautiful blue
to purple-blue flowers emerge in late May to early June. The 3 petals of the flower
are all the same size unlike its close relative, the
Commelina. The leaves form a sheath which clasps the
stem in an alternating sequence.
buds form in a dense cluster (cyme) at the top of the stem with the flowers
opening a few at a time and lasting for only a day. The ripe seeds are
enclosed in drooping capsules each with 3 chambers.
The roots spread forming large patches that sometimes will cover a large area creating a blue sea of flowers.
Its name "snotgrass" and "cow-slobbers" describe the viscose sap. The name "Spiderwort" came from the healing properties (wort) of the sap when used on spider bites.
This plant has been used in multiple herbal remedies. It is used as one
ingredient to treat the kidneys as well as a treatment from female problems.
A tea is used to aid in digestion, a root poultice for cancer
treatment, and the crushed leaves as a relief from insect bites especially
Spiderwort has been found to detect natural radiation that
conventional instruments don't. The
GDR Corp. (Global
Deactivation of Radiation Corp.) has
done experiments to show that the normally blue or purple stamens turn pink
in the presence of even small amounts of radiation.
Because of this
NASA has used this plant to test for the "Influence
of Zero Gravity on Mutation Process Using Controlled Gamma Ray Exposure".
Propagation: The roots spread to form a loose patch and can be
split. The seeds can be easily collected when the pods have dried. Grows
best in full sun but will tolerate some shade. It prefers a sandy soil but
is quite adaptable to heavier and wetter areas.
Blooming Buddies include: Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea (L.) W.D.J.Koch), Pussy-toes (Antennaria neglecta Greene), Fringed Puccoon (Lithospermum incisum Lehm.), Lyrate Rock-cress (Arabis lyrata L. ), Violet Wood-sorrel (Oxalis violacea L. ), and Shooting-Star (Dodecatheon meadia L. subsp. meadia)