Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Spiderwort buds

with 22 comments

Spiderwort Buds 9324

Click for greater clarity, especially in the little hairs.

In the preserve behind the Austin Nature Center on March 23rd I photographed this little cup of spiderwort buds, Tradescantia spp.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 4, 2015 at 5:29 AM

22 Responses

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  1. Very nice. Your variety of Spiderwort has hairier buds than mine…which is the Virginia Spiderwort- Tradescantia virginiana.

    Steve Gingold

    April 4, 2015 at 6:28 AM

  2. Fuzzy!


    April 4, 2015 at 8:16 AM

  3. Is it as velvety as it looks, or is it prickly?


    April 4, 2015 at 9:53 AM

  4. Great shot.

    Raewyn's Photos

    April 4, 2015 at 2:20 PM

  5. Such wonders in nature! This is beautiful. Interesting how the side is sculpted to show the buds.


    April 4, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    • As a photographer I was the beneficiary of the sculpted sides, but somehow I don’t think that sculpting developed for my sake.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 4, 2015 at 4:12 PM

  6. This is a beautiful shot, Steve. Thanks.

  7. Where does the spider come into it? The spidery nature of the plant?


    April 5, 2015 at 4:13 AM

    • Good question. The article at


      says this:

      “The name Spiderwort is attributed to the observation that the monocotyledonous, grass- like leaves of the plant are suggestive of a crouching spider. To further augment the arachnid syllogism, when the stalk of the Spiderwort is broken, sap emerges that forms filaments that resemble a spider’s web. This is the source of the vernacular name ‘Cow Slobber. The term ‘wort’ is from the Old English wyrt meaning root or herb and is generally applied to a plant to indicate a medicinal application, in this case spider bites. It is likely that the perceived need for a treatment for spider bites arose due to the prevailing belief in Southern Europe that spider venom was the cause of a malignancy known as choreomania, or dancing madness. Symptoms included headaches, sweating, and trembling, and severe melancholia. In the absence of an antidote, frenzied dancing to the point of exhaustion was permitted even where it was prohibited by unflinching religious fiat. In Italy it was called tarantism, as it was attributed to the bite of the tarantula, a species of wolf spider. As early as 1633, plants of the genus Asphodelus were recommended as antidotes. The discovery of the spider-like plant in the New World during the heyday of this mania probably led to its consideration as a medicine for the condition.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2015 at 7:33 AM

      • Excellent, thank you. And I am happy that you have now added to your blog a photo of a spider on spiderwort. That spider looks harmless.


        April 6, 2015 at 6:10 AM

  8. Astonishing detail – love this!

    Birder's Journey

    April 5, 2015 at 10:03 PM

  9. The katydid was fun, and spiders always are a great addition to your photos, but I think this is my favorite of the spiderwort series. The transformation of these buds into those beautiful flowers is amazing, and this is a view most of us miss. The flowers are easy enough to spot, but these buds and their hairy little details? Not so much.


    April 6, 2015 at 8:42 AM

    • You’ve seen enough of my work to know that I try to give unfamiliar phases (and views) of a plant their due. The flowers are easy to spot but for you the buds hit the spot. Spot-on, as some people say.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2015 at 9:23 AM

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