Herbs, erect to ascending, rarely rooting at nodes. Roots sometimes tuberous. Stems sparsely branched, 8--39 cm, scabridulous or rarely glabrescent. Leaves: blade linear-lanceolate, 1--10 ´ 0.15--0.8 cm (distal leaf blades wider or narrower than sheaths when sheaths opened, flattened), firmly membranaceous, glaucous, glabrous. Inflorescences terminal, solitary, or frequently with 1--3 axillary inflorescences from distal nodes; bracts foliaceous. Flowers distinctly pedicillate; pedicels 0.8--1 cm, glandular-puberulent; sepals frequently suffused with red, glaucous, 4--6 mm, glandular-puberulent; petals distinct, bright blue to rose and purple, not clawed, 9--12 mm; stamens free; filaments bearded. Capsules 3--4 mm. Seeds 1.5--2 mm; hilum much shorter than seed. Flowering summer--fall (Jul--Sep). Moist canyons and stream banks; 1700--3000 m; Ariz., N.Mex.; Mexico (Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora).
Plant: perennial herb; scabridulous to scattered pubescent, the trichomes short, appressed; roots fibrous with occasional tubers; stems erect to ascending, sparsely branched, 10-40 cm. Leaves: linear-lanceolate, 1.5-13 cm long, 0.2-0.8 cm wide, the sheath membranaceous, glabrous INFLORESCENCE: terminal, solitary or frequently with 1-3 axillary inflorescences from upper nodes; bracts foliose, 2-6 cm long Flowers: pedicels 0.5-1.3 cm long, glandular-puberulent; sepals frequently suffused with red, glaucous, 0.4-0.6 mm long, glandular-puberulous; petals bright blue to rose and purple, 0.9-1.2 cm long Fruit: FRUITS 3-4 mm long, 3-valved, 3-locular; SEEDS 1.5-2 mm long, with hilum oblong to linear Misc: Grasslands, chaparral and grassy meadows in ponderosa pine forest, on granitic to limestone substrate; mesas and rocky hillsides; 1500-2750 m (5000-9000 ft); Aug-Nov REFERENCES: Puente, Raul, and Robert B. Faden. 2001. Commelinaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 33(1).
FNA 2000, Puente and Faden 2001
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Erect, slender-stemmed herb, light grassy green, having 2 long, slender, spreading bracts at the base of each inflorescence, reminiscent of wings or antennae. Very lightly pubescent. Leaves: Blades linear and rolling inwards at the margins, to 13 cm long, giving the appearance of a grass blade, clasping at the base, linear venation evident. Flowers: Three petals light purple, rose, or blue flowers, subtended by 2 long, linear, spreading bracts, inflorescence single or sometimes in groups, all arising out of a single bract. Stamens feathery at the base, light purple, with bright yellow anthers. Fruits: Capsules 3-4 mm, 3-valved, with small seeds to 2 mm. Ecology: Found on granitic and limestone substrates, in wet areas on stream sides and in canyons, also found in grasslands, chaparral, mesas, and and pine forests, from 5,500-10,000 ft (1676-3048 m); flowering July-September. Notes: This lovely flower is easily recognized by its fabulous bracts, which remain even after the flower has faded. Ethnobotany: An infusion of the plant was given to livestock as an aphrodisiac. Etymology: Tradescantia is named after John Tradescant (1608-1662), English gardener to King Charles I, while pinetorum means of the pine forests. Synonyms: Tradescantia tuberosa, Aneilema pinetorum Editor: LCrumbacher, 2011