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Tradescantia Fluminensis - Trad

 

(once called Wandering Jew or Creeping Christian)

 

Tradescantia Fluminensis.jpg 

Habitat

Trad comes from South America but it has become widely established in our Sydney bushland, especially through the dumping of garden refuse. This succulent herb grows very quickly and spreads over the ground forming a dense mat. As you may have noticed, it very effectively smothers all other small plants!

Little wonder it is such a fierce competitor when it will tolerate full sun, full shade, nutrient enriched soils and damp places. On top of all this, any tiny sections left lying on the ground will usually root at each node to carry on the fight!

Description

This weed has long brittle, succulent and trailing stems. The leaves are a shiny mid to dark green up to six centimetres long and have very well defined nodes. They often have a few fine hairs at the base. The small white star-like flowers form a cluster at the end of the stem.

Trad is from the Commelinaceae family and is in fact often confused with the native ground cover, Commelina cyanea, especially if they are growing together. However, the flowers of Commelina are bright blue, and the roots are thick and fleshy compared to the weed species. Another clue is their habitat. Commelina generally prefers fairly sunny positions and will not grow in deep shade like the Trad does. The difference between their leaves is harder to describe, so if in doubt, wait for the flowers.

Noxious Weed Category: 4

Control & Removal Methods

Trying to remove this weed is tricky because the stem breaks so easily at the nodes. All parts of the plant must be removed by hand pulling or raking, and even when you’re sure you have them all, it’s worth checking again! On hard surfaces it may be rolled up like a carpet. Herbicide is not usually effective.

So don’t expect miracles straight away as it is very difficult to completely disengage Trad on your first attempt. Follow up weeding will be necessary, however it is well worth the effort!

Composting Trad is always effective, or bag it and put it out for the Council’s Green Waste collection.