Spiderwort, Tradescantia spp., Asparagus of the South

Uses : Edible, Forage, Xeriscaping. Native to : Eastern North America.
     There are several Tradescantia members that look similar, notably T. virginiana and T. ohiensis. The good news is that they are both edible. The bad news is that when anyone thinks of Tradescantia, they usually think of the striped (Wandering Jew) or purple (Purple Heart, Moses in a Boat), which are inedible.
     These purple beauties will bloom all spring, but each flower  is only open for a day or so. They are very successful, some might even say invasive, and can survive some mowing. The best practice is to relocate these hardy perennials to a flower bed in the full sun.
     Rabbits do enjoy eating them, along with some humans. Green Deane says:
     "Its leaves do not change in flavor as the plant ages. The leaves are good for salads as well, or in soup and stews but they are mucilaginous. The stems can be braised like asparagus. The flowers, at one time favorites for candying, make very pretty blue additions to back yard salads." 


Gardens-In-The-Sand said...

Have you tried eating spiderwort yet?
I'd like to hear about tried and tested recipes...
It creeps me out, due to the slimey mess you get...
Cow slobber... they call it...

chrissy bauman said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't tasted Spiderwort yet. The rabbits very much like it, and the sliminess doesn't seem to bother them!
People do manage to choke down okra, another almost unpalatable veggie. I should think any asparagus or okra recipe would work well for Spiderwort!
The flowers sure are beautiful on naturally dyed Easter eggs.