Upright Spiderwort
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Upright Spiderwort
aturalized Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Upright Spiderwort, Widow's tears
Botanical name: Tinantia erecta    Family: Commelinaceae (Dayflower family)
Synonyms: Tradescantia erecta, Pomogesia erecta, Tinantia fugax

Upright Spiderwort is an annual plant native to Mexico. It seems to have escaped cultivation in some parts of the Himalayan foothills, and is found growing wild. It is an erect or ascending herb, occasionally branched from the base. Stems are up to 1 m high, but usually smaller, somewhat fleshy, often purple. Alternately arranged, elliptic to broadly ovate leaves are up to 16 cm long and up to 6 cm wide (although usually smaller), hairy, pointed, sharp or rounded base. Often becoming narrow stalk-like (of up to 1.5 cm long) and then becoming wider to form tubular sheath surrounding the stem (up to 1 cm long and up to 7 mm wide. Inflorescences are up to 5 cm long and up to 7 cm wide, composed of 3-20 flowers on stalks up to 2.2 cm long, covered with glandular hairs. The goblet of 3 sepals elliptical, erect, up to 1 cm long, covered with abundant glandular hairs. Flowers have 3 petals up to 1.5 cm long, purplish-blue to pink or purple. Stamens are 6, all fertile ( sometimes 3 infertile), unequal, 3 short filaments with hairs at base, their anthers oblong, and 3 more long, with hairs towards the middle or above, their anthers globose. It's hard to find a time at which the nodding flowers are open, but they always have the little curvy spur pointing out of the bud. The fruit is a capsule up to 1.2 cm long and up 6 mm wide, which opens at maturity. Seeds are gray or light brown with very rough surface.

Identification credit: Mayur Nandikar Photographed in Dhanaulti, Uttarakhand.

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