hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:33:59 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Top Left of Navigation Bar The Nature of Alberta Logo
Species at Risk in AlbertaView our site layout to navigate to specific areasSearch our site for informationObtain help for navigating our sitePlease emails us your questions and comments!View our partners that helped us in this project

Ecosystems OverviewEnvironmental IssuesGeological History of AlbertaAlberta's Natural RegionsAdditional Resources
Visit Alberta Source!
Visit the Heritage Community Foundation
Visit Canada's Digital Collections

Western Spiderwort

Western SpiderwortWestern spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) is the only species of Tradescantia native to Alberta. It is widely distributed in the central United States but enters Canada at only four locations: one in Alberta; one disjunct site in Saskatchewan, and two sites in Manitoba. In Alberta, western spiderwort occurs along the old dune fields east of Pakowki Lake and is restricted to the Dry Mixedgrass Subregion, an area extensively modified by agriculture with few native tracts remaining. The Alberta Natural Heritage Information Centre, because of its rarity in the province, ranks the species S1. Western spiderwort is designated as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC 2000). 

The principal vegetation composition of western spiderwort sites appears to be typified by drought resistant grasses such as blue gama and needle-and-thread grass. Sand dunes exhibit a range of habitats from active dunes to stabilized sites with needle-and-thread grass and sand grass, a variety of low shrubs, primarily buckbrush and prickly rose; tall shrubs, mainly choke cherry and silverberry, and trees, including clones of aspen and scattered plains. 

Western spiderwort normally flowers from May to July. Each flower lasts only one day. The plant reproduces through seeds an by vegetative propagation. Western spiderwort is very dependent on moisture levels. There are many other indigenous species of plants that western spiderwort may be confused with in its natural habitat in southeastern Alberta. 

Reprinted from Alberta Wildlife Status Report No. 31 (2001), with permission from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on the natural history of Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved