Tradescantia fluminensis

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Tradescantia fluminensis
Tradescantia fluminensis Flower 1.jpg
Tradescantia fluminensis
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Commelinales
Family: Commelinaceae
Subfamily: Commelinoideae
Tribe: Tradescantieae
Subtribe: Tradescantiinae
Genus: Tradescantia
Species:
T. fluminensis
Binomial name
Tradescantia fluminensis
Synonyms

Tradescantia albiflora

Tradescantia fluminensis is a species of spiderwort native to South America. It is one of several plants known by the common name wandering Jew. It is also known as small-leaf spiderwort, [1] river spiderwort, inch plant, wandering trad, wandering willie, wandering gypsy.[ citation needed ]

Contents

Description

Tradescantia fluminensis is a perennial ground cover that spreads along the ground with soft, hairless stems and leaves. The fleshy stems root at any node that is on the surface. The plant has oval, dark-green leaves with pointed tips that are shiny, smooth and slightly fleshy about 1.25–2.5 inches (32–64 mm) long. The flowers are white with three petals and approx. 0.5–1 inch (13–25 mm) in diameter. They are produced in small clusters in summer but do not produce seeds.

Cultivation

Tradescantia fluminensis is grown as a garden plant or houseplant in many places. Even in places where it is a pest it may be grown as a house plant in variegated forms. The plant requires a moist soil to do well but is retarded by cold climates, especially where there is frost or snow. It tolerates heavy shade. Because it requires moisture it grows weakly, if at all, in sunny areas that dry out for long periods. However, because it is a fleshy plant that retains water, it can withstand extended periods of dryness only to resume growth once better conditions return.

Numerous cultivars are available with variegated leaves, of which 'Quicksilver' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. [2] [3]

Invasion as a pest

Tradescantia fluminensis is considered an invasive species, noxious weed, or pest plant in many places and is consequently targeted for eradication. Seriously affected areas include Australia, [4] New Zealand, [5] and the southeastern United States. [6]

An extensive infestation of Tradescantia fluminensis, covering the forest floor at Chatswood West, Australia. Tradescantia fluminensis - Chatswood Australia.jpg
An extensive infestation of Tradescantia fluminensis, covering the forest floor at Chatswood West, Australia.

It is classified as a Category 1b Invasive Species in South Africa, [7] and thus in South Africa it may no longer be planted, propagated, or be allowed to disperse, and all trade in their seeds, cuttings or other propagative material is prohibited, in both rural and urban areas. [8]

The seriously invasive qualities of T. fluminensis result from a combination of attributes. Forming a dense mat underneath forest tree cover to 12 inches (30 centimeters) or even more (facilitated by a remarkable shade tolerance) it smothers ground-level plants and prevents the natural regeneration of taller species and if left unchecked, it can lead to the destruction of native forests. [9] [10] Even where the climate does not permit T. fluminensis to take root, it still can spread rapidly from being transported by animals and humans and even strong winds. The succulent stems break easily at the nodes and establish themselves wherever they land on moist soil. While T. fluminensis does respond to herbicides and other applied weed controls, each segment has the ability to regenerate, so it is able to make a rapid comeback, especially in soft soils where stems may remain underneath the surface.

Eradication methods

Chemical control

The plant is resistant to chemical control as a result of its glossy leaves and smooth stems, along with its ability to regenerate from small surviving pieces. Nevertheless, for large infested areas this is probably the only means of achieving control. Unfortunately, any chemical that is capable of killing the plant is likely to kill most other plants and so a clear area will result for a period of time. However, since there are treatments that rapidly degrade upon soil contact within a day, this effect is limited to the time that it takes for seeds of other species to germinate and establish themselves. Because of the waxy surface of leaves and stems, a penetrant is needed for effective treatment.

Successful treatments include the following:

flower Tradescantia fluminensis4 ies.jpg
flower

Chemical treatment will result in browning off in 3–4 weeks followed by disappearance of living material. However, follow-up is needed several months later (in a frost free climate) to catch any buried plant segments that may have regenerated and possibly a third such spot treatment is required before the area is completely eradicated and even after that attention to a resurgence is advised.

Manual control

Repeated deployment of weed-control agents may have a negative effect upon the local environment, in which case the only option remaining is manual clearance. In areas where the plant is a pest this is an arduous task since every single scrap of the weed has to be removed or it will regrow. In less prolific areas, manual removal is less difficult as the plant roots come up easily, and an initial clearance can be accomplished by raking the area. Repeated efforts at intervals of a few months along with regular monitoring for invasion from neighbouring areas will be necessary for full control.

Combined chemical-manual control

In view of the persistence of the plant and the cost of chemical treatment plus the negative effect on other species, especially in regions where it is a pest, a combination of an initial chemical treatment followed by manual removal for the second or possibly third treatment is worth considering. Nevertheless, absolutely scrupulous attention to the removal of every single piece of the stems from both above and below the surface is required before elimination can be assured.

Small-scale control using livestock

There are anecdotal reports of using browsing animals (e.g. sheep) to control the plant. Heavy stocking is suggested to ensure all the infestation is consumed, and as with other methods, ongoing monitoring is required to ensure no scraps of plant material have survived to re-infest the area. [11] For residential properties, chickens are an excellent method to control and remove Tradescantia fluminensis, as they will feed on all parts of the plant.

Related Research Articles

<i>Tradescantia</i> genus of plants

Tradescantia is a genus of 75 species of herbaceous perennial wildflowers in the family Commelinaceae, native to the New World from southern Canada to northern Argentina, including the West Indies. Members of the genus are known by the common names spiderwort or Indian paint. They were introduced into Europe as ornamental plants in the 17th century and are now grown in many parts of the world. Some species have become naturalized in various regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, as well as on some oceanic islands.

Weed control Agricultural Practice

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<i>Onopordum acanthium</i> Species of flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae

Onopordum acanthium is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to Europe and Western Asia from the Iberian Peninsula east to Kazakhstan, and north to central Scandinavia, and widely naturalised elsewhere, with especially large populations present in the United States and Australia. It is a vigorous biennial plant with coarse, spiny leaves and conspicuous spiny-winged stems.

<i>Alternanthera philoxeroides</i> species of plant

Alternanthera philoxeroides, commonly referred to as alligator weed, is a native species to the temperate regions of South America, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Argentina alone, hosts around 27 species that fall within the range of the genus Alternanthera. Its geographic range once used to cover only the Parana River region of South America, but it has since expanded to cover over 30 countries, such as the United States, New Zealand, China and many more. This invasive species is believed to have been accidentally introduced to these non-native regions through sediments trapped/attached to tanks and cargo of ships travelling from South America to these various areas.

Invasive species in New Zealand wikimedia list article

A number of introduced species, some of which have become invasive species, have been added to New Zealand's native flora and fauna. Both deliberate and accidental introductions have been made from the time of the first human settlement, with several waves of Polynesian people at some time before the year 1300, followed by Europeans after 1769.

<i>Tradescantia pallida</i> species of plant

Tradescantia pallida is a species of spiderwort more commonly known as wandering jew or walking jew, a name it shares with the closely related species T. fluminensis and T. zebrina. Other common names include purple secretia, purple-heart, and purple queen. It is native to the Gulf Coast region of eastern Mexico. Edward Palmer collected the type specimen near Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas in 1907.

<i>Halogeton glomeratus</i> species of plant

Halogeton glomeratus is a species of flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae known by the common names saltlover, Aral barilla, and halogeton. It is native to Russia, Central Asia and China, but the plant is probably better known in the western United States, where it is an introduced species and a notorious noxious weed. This annual herb is a hardy halophyte, thriving in soils far too saline to support many other plants. It also grows in alkali soils such as those on alkali flats and disturbed, barren habitat. It can be found in sagebrush and shadscale habitat, and it grows well in areas with cold winters.

<i>Tradescantia zebrina</i> Species of flowering plant in the family Commelinaceae

Tradescantia zebrina, formerly known as Zebrina pendula, is a species of spiderwort more commonly known as an inchplant or wandering jew. The common name is shared with closely related species T. fluminensis and T. pallida.

<i>Abutilon theophrasti</i> Species of plant

Abutilon theophrasti is an annual plant in the family Malvaceae, native to southern Asia. Its specific epithet theophrasti commemorates the ancient Greek botanist-philosopher Theophrastus. Abutilon theophrasti is the type species of the genus Abutilon.

<i>Melilotus albus</i> Species of flowering plant in the bean family Fabaceae

Melilotus albus, known as honey clover, white melilot (UK), Bokhara clover (Australia), white sweetclover (USA), and sweet clover, is a nitrogen-fixing legume in the family Fabaceae. Melilotus albus is considered a valuable honey plant and source of nectar and is often grown for forage. Its characteristic sweet odor, intensified by drying, is derived from coumarin.

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Lantana camara is a species of flowering plant within the verbena family (Verbenaceae), native to the American tropics. Other common names of L. camara include big-sage (Malaysia), wild-sage, red-sage, white-sage (Caribbean), korsu wiri or korsoe wiwiri (Suriname), tickberry, West Indian lantana,, umbelanterna and Gu Phool in Assam, India.

Weed A plant considered undesirable in a particular place or situation

A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, "a plant in the wrong place". Examples commonly are plants unwanted in human-controlled settings, such as farm fields, gardens, lawns, and parks. Taxonomically, the term "weed" has no botanical significance, because a plant that is a weed in one context is not a weed when growing in a situation where it is in fact wanted, and where one species of plant is a valuable crop plant, another species in the same genus might be a serious weed, such as a wild bramble growing among cultivated loganberries. In the same way, volunteer crops (plants) are regarded as weeds in a subsequent crop. Many plants that people widely regard as weeds also are intentionally grown in gardens and other cultivated settings, in which case they are sometimes called beneficial weeds. The term weed also is applied to any plant that grows or reproduces aggressively, or is invasive outside its native habitat. More broadly "weed" occasionally is applied pejoratively to species outside the plant kingdom, species that can survive in diverse environments and reproduce quickly; in this sense it has even been applied to humans.

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<i>Tradescantia sillamontana</i> species of plant

Tradescantia sillamontana is a perennial evergreen herbaceous plant of the genus Tradescantia. This species is one of the most succulent and xerophytic, but at the same time one of the most attractive species of Tradescantia. It is endemic to dry areas of the State of Nuevo León in northeastern Mexico.

<i>Centaurea stoebe</i> species of plant

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<i>Euphorbia virgata</i> species of plant

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References

  1. "Tradescantia fluminensis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA . Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  2. "RHS Plant Selector - Tradescantia fluminensis 'Quicksilver'" . Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  3. "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 102. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  4. Wolff, Mark A. (1999). Winning the war of Weeds: The Essential Gardener's Guide to Weed Identification and Control. Kenthurst, NSW: Kangaroo Press. p. 57. ISBN   0-86417-993-6.
  5. MAF biosecurity New Zealand (2009). "MAF pest report on Wandering Willy" . Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  6. Florida Exotic Plant Pest Council (2007). "Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's 2007 List of Invasive Plant Species". Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. Department of Primary Industries, Victoria (2011). "Impact Assessment – Wandering creeper (Tradescantia fluminensis) in Victoria" . Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  10. Kelly, David; Skipworth, J. P. (1984). "Tradescantia fluminensis in a Manawatu (New Zealand) forest: I. Growth and effects on regeneration" (PDF). New Zealand Journal of Botany. Royal Society of New Zealand. 22 (3): 393–397. doi:10.1080/0028825x.1984.10425270. ISSN   0028-825X. OCLC   1760278 . Retrieved 5 October 2011.[ permanent dead link ]
  11. Lynne Mcanulty-Street (Tareha School Principal, 1993–1995) (7 June 2012). "Accidentally Gardening: Garden #6 – Kaweka ranges over Hawkes Bay". [Wandering Jew] is like candy to sheep. Five cleared a dense overgrown patch in a week, and we watched them scraping the dirt to get at the underground runners. Five years later we went back and [none] had grown there since.