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(spiderwort), a family of monocotyledonous plants. They are herbs, with a leafy and knotty stem. They are often fleshy. The flowers, which are in racemes, are usually monoecious, regular (sometimes irregular), and trimerous; they have a calyx and a corolla. There are approximately 40 genera, with more than 500 species (according to other data, up to 1,000 species). They are distributed predominantly in the tropics and subtropics of both hemispheres. In the USSR the genera Commelina and Aneilema (one species in the Far East) are found. The many ornamental species of the genera Tradescantia, Zebrina, and Spironema, which are cultivated in the USSR, belong to the family Commelinaceae.