Tradescantia ernestiana E.S. Anderson & Woodson
CC = 8
CW = 5
MOC = 11
Family - Commelinaceae
Habit - Perennial forb with thickened, fleshy roots.
Stems - Erect, 20-40 cm long, not zigzag, glabrous or sparsely and inconspicuously hairy.
Leaves - Alternate. Blades of the leaves and bracts 6-25 cm long, linear-lanceolate to narrowly elliptic-lanceolate, tapering abruptly at the base and at least the upper leaf blades and bracts conspicuously broader than the basal sheaths, with parallel venation, glabrous or sparsely and inconspicuously hairy, deep green, not glaucous.
Inflorescence - Terminal cluster blooming 1-3 flowers at a time. Flower stalks 20-32 mm long, pubescent with nonglandular hairs, erect in flower, nodding in fruit.
Flowers - Sepals 10-14 mm long, green, herbaceous and usually somewhat inflated, pubescent with nonglandular hairs. Petals 14-16 mm long, ovate, deep blue, less commonly reddish pink or purple, glabrous. Stamens 6, erect. Filaments with purple multicellular pubescence. Anthers yellow, 2-lobed, 2.1 mm broad, 1.4 mm long. Ovary 3-locular, white, glabrous, 3-angled. Placentation axile. Style purple, glabrous, 6-7 mm long.
Flowering - April - May.
Habitat - Mesic upland forests, streambanks, ravines, shaded bluffs, on calcareous substrates.
Origin - Native to the U.S.
Lookalikes - Other species of Tradescantia, especially T. ozarkana.
Other info. - This striking species is found in a handful of southern Ozark counties. Beyond Missouri it occurs in only four other states, in two of which it is considered rare. The plant is smaller than most others in the genus but has good-sized flowers.
Photographs taken at Poison Hollow, Howell County, MO, 5-14-2019 (SRTurner).