Ground Covers

Wandering Jew (Trad)

Tradescantia albiflora, T. zebrina, T. spathecea

This shade loving, weak rooted herb is often the cause of skin irritations in dogs. Many other forms of Tradescantia are well known garden plants including the popular “Moses in the cradle” (Rhoeo).
  • Family Commelinaceae
  • Origin South America
  • Habit Weak, perennial, creeping succulent herb, rooting from distinct nodes. Grows vigorously, layering and smothering low native ground covers. Shade tolerant and moisture loving.
  • Leaves Simple, alternate, ovate leaves that are glossy and dark green, to 6cm long. Slightly fleshy.
  • Flowers Small (1-2cm) white flowers, with three petals and six hairy stamens. Spring-Summer.
  • Fruit Papery capsule, seed not viable in Australia.
  • Roots Stolons form underground, with weak, shallow roots forming at nodes.
  • Dispersal Main method of reproduction is vegetative where by stem fragments re-root. Stem fragments spread by water, and contaminated soil (green waste dumping, earth moving etc). Common in watercourses.
  • Control Hand pull/dig, bagging all plant parts and removing from site. Foliar spray.
Similar native species: Commelina cyanea (pic. bottom R). This native ground cover has hairy leaf sheaths, blue flowers and a strong primary root system.

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