Spiderwort and Wandering Jew Family

John Conran

Perennial or annual herbs, often fleshy; stems often swollen at the nodes. Leaves simple, entire, with tubular sheathing bases. Flowers radially or bilaterally symmetrical, mostly bisexual, in terminal or axillary, single to many-flowered, 1-sided or coiled cymes. Cymes often grouped or fused in pairs. Sepals 3, petals 3, sometimes 1 petal reduced or absent. Stamens 6 or some reduced and sterile. Ovary superior, 3(2) chambered with several, 2 or 1 ovule. Fruit a few-seeded capsule, usually dehiscent, dry or fleshy.

The popular ornamental genera Rhoeo, Setcreasea and Zebrina are now included within Tradescantia. Several species of Commelina and Tradescantia are weeds.

Stem-sheathing leaves, very short-lived flowers with distinct sepals and petals, often bilaterally symmetrical and with several stamen types.

A worldwide, mainly tropical family of about 35 genera and 600 species. Australia has 8 native (1 endemic) genera and 3 introduced genera.

Brenan (1966).

Source: Conran, J. (2005). Commelinaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Lilianae
order      Commelinales
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
genus        Callisia L.
genus        Commelina L.
genus        Cyanotis D.Don
genus        Dichorisandra J.C.Mikan
genus        Geogenanthus Ule
genus        Gibasis Raf.
genus        Pollia Thunb.
genus        Tradescantia L.