Natural Geiger Counter

tradescantia

Ever wanted to have your own radiation detector? Well, maybe you’ve already got one, right out in your garden or in the woods nearby. Tradescantia, also known as spiderwort, is one such item. The species pictured here is our native, T.virginiana. See the tiny blue hairs that  coat the stamens?  In some Tradescantia species — possibly including this one — the hairs turn pink in the presence of low levels of  ionizing radiation.  Named for 17th-century British naturalists John Tradescant the Elder and his son the Younger,  Tradescantia is a member of the dayflower family. Another well-known Tradescantia is Wandering Jew, which is often sold in hanging baskets.

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One comment

  1. Jim

    Thanks. That I did not know. Spiderwort grows wild on our property anywhere I let it – which is a fair bit of territory. 🙂

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