Spiderwort: Tradescantia ohiensis

Right along the edge of the tar of the Wobegon Trail, as I was speeding by on my bicycle in the end of May, I nearly ran over some spiderwort plants (T. bracteata) that were overhanging the trail. They were the pinkest versions of the flower I’ve ever seen, closer to magenta than blue, though later plants I’ve seen along there have been the deeper purple. On close examination, the stamen hairs of the flowers were all still dark blue-purple, which is a good sign because—

And interesting feature of the Tradescantia genus is that the flowers are a natural gauge of nuclear radiation. When under exposure, the stamen hairs change from blue to pink, with the degree of change reflecting the level of radiation. So if you have ever been worried about nuclear radiation in your area, check out the local spiderwort (or plant your own). And hope the stamens remain blue.