I have this plant growing in my garden in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. The photo was taken yesterday (August 20), where we have just had a hot and humid summer.

The plant looks kind of interesting, and I was reluctant to pull it, but if it's a weed I probably do want to pull it.

A search on Plantnet and Google Images came up with little; Plantnet guessed nutsedge or garlic, and someone at a local gardening store suggested an onion. I'd be very surprised if I had garlic or onions growing, and photos which I found of nutsedge look rather different.

Any idea what this is and whether or not I should remove it?

Photo of plant

  • 1
    An easy way to test if this plant is in the onion family is to break part of it (the tip off a leaf, say) and smell it. If there's no oniony smell then it's not garlic or onion. Also, Allium plants don't have jointed stems like the plant in the photo.
    – Kilobyte
    Aug 21, 2022 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


Tradescantia bracteata (prairie spiderwort, longbract spiderwort)

Found using Bing Visual Search and this photo.

I think you should keep it. If people think it is weed, then tell them that it is a very fine native flower.

  • Great, thank you! I have some of these growing elsewhere in my garden, and which produced beautiful flowers in the spring. I didn't realize this was the same type of plant! Aug 22, 2022 at 10:10
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    Much more likely to be Tradescantia ohioensis or a seedling of Tradescantia x andersonii, as T. bracteata is not native much farther east than the Mississippi River. In any case, it is indeed a spiderwort.
    – Jurp
    Aug 22, 2022 at 12:05
  • It has now started producing the telltale purple flowers -- thanks again! Sep 17, 2022 at 11:18

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