Ohio Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis, also known as Bluejacket is a plant named after my home state. This grass-like plant can be found in woods and meadows. It has blue or purple flowers that can be observed between June and July. The petals are broad and has sepals that have hairy tips if the hair exists at all. The flowers grow in umbel-like clusters with two long, leaf-like bracts below the clusters. The leaves alternate along the stem, are entire, and whiten when it blooms.
Spiderworts are edible, the young leaves and stem can be eaten raw, added to salads or boiled for 10 minutes and served with other dishes. The flowers can be turned into a candy. The Cherokee parboiled the young growth until tender, fried it and mixed it with other greens. They also used it for a variety of medicinal uses such as a laxative, cancer treatment and for insect bites.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry!
Ohio Spiderwort Sources:
Audubon Guides Box Set – Birds, Tree, Wildflowers & Mammals. Computer Software.Green Mountain Digital. Version: 2.3. Web. Jul 10, 2014.
Fernald, Merritt Lyndon & Alfred Charles Kinsey. Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1996. Print. pg. 124
Foster, Steven and James A. Duke. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. 2nd. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Print. pg. 190
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses- A 400 Year History. North Carolina: Herald Publishing. 1975. Print. pg. 56
Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 565
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 120-121
Peterson, Lee Allen. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants; Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. Print. pg. 130-131
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.