Despite carrying the name of Ohio, this smooth spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis Raf.) is one of the most elegant harbingers of spring in Texas. Found in prairies and meadows, at woodland edges, and along roadsides, it’s flowers are pollinated by long-tongued bees, especially bumblebees. Halictid bees and syrphid flies also will visit, but the syrphids simply feed on stray bits of pollen.
The genus name honors John Tradescant (1570-1638) and his son John Tradescant (1608-1662), botanists and gardeners to Charles I of England.
The author name for the plant classification, ‘Raf.’ is for Constantine Samuel Rafinesque (1783-1840), who traveled and lived in the United States for many years. He collected specimens, and published over 6,700 binomial names for plants. He applied to be botanist on the Lewis & Clark expedition, but Jefferson chose Lewis to act as botanist, thus saving the expense of another person.
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