Setcreasea photos on Flickr | Flickr

Flowering Tradescantia pallida plant

Tradescantia pallida (synonym Setcreasea purpurea) is a species of spiderwort native to eastern Mexico, from Tamaulipas to Yucatan. It is an evergreen perennial plant with elongated, pointed leaves 7-15 cm long, and small three-petalled white, pink or purple flowers with yellow stamens. The leaves are glaucous green, often with a red or purple fringe, or (in many cultivars) purple throughout, or green and white variegated. The plant thrives in sun or light shade in subtropical areas, grows to 20-40 cm tall.

The botanical name for the genus is in honor of John Tradescant the elder. The species name Pallida refers to the pale (pallid) flowers of some individuals (most Tradescantia species have clean white or bright blue flowers).

The NCBI uses the classification Setcreasea purpurea, a classification which the ITIS and most other authorities reject as a synonym of Tradescantia pallida. Adding to the naming confusion, T. pallida (in addition to the "Wandering Jew" moniker) is also known as the "Purple Heart". The Wandering Jew has escaped from cultivation in many areas from the southern United States to South America and in the warmer parts of former.

British colonies, including Australia; In many areas it is considered an invasive weed.

Wandering Jew is widely used as an ornamental plant in gardens and borders, as a ground cover, hanging plant, or (particularly in colder areas) houseplant. It is propagated easily by cuttings; the stems are visibly segmented and roots will frequently grow from the joints.

September 18, 2007

At 12.51pm EDT

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