Small-Leaf Spiderwort Plant: Classification, Distribution, Taxonomy, Characteristics, and Reproduction


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Commelinids

Family: Commelinaceae

Genus: Tradescantia

Species: fluminensis


Small-leaf spiderwort, Tradescantia fluminensis, is a perennial subsucculent herb native to Brazil and Argentina’s tropical and subtropical climates (Maule et al. 1995). The species has been introduced to Florida, California, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. It has also been imported into at least 13 other nations, where it is frequently regarded as invasive. The species thrives in damp environments, where it develops thick monocultures that restrict native plant recruitment. When compared to non-invaded areas, Tradescantia fluminensis modifies the decomposition rate of leaf litter and is capable of modifying nutrient availability, moisture regime, and invertebrate fauna. Preventative measures should be included in a strong management approach, and any occurrences of this plant should be eliminated before it spreads.

Tradescantia fluminesis


T. fluminensis is native to the subtropical and tropical regions of Brazil and Argentina. The species was first described based on specimens taken in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro province. The invasive Tradescantia fluminensis was imported to New Zealand in 1910. It’s also found in eastern Australia, the Galapagos Islands, islands off the coast of Chile, the Republic of Nauru in Micronesia, Russia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Portugal, California, and the southeastern United States, as well as Puerto Rico.

The species is most common in the northern and central parts of the peninsula in Florida. Specimens have been vouchered from the panhandle’s Calhoun and Leon counties, north-central Florida’s Alachua, Marion, Lake, Orange, and Seminole counties, the Gulf Coast’s Hernando, Hillsborough, and Manatee counties, and the Atlantic Coast’s Flagler and St. Lucie counties.


 Botanist José Mariano da Conceiço Vellozo described Tradescantia fluminensis in 1825. The genus Tradescantia was named after the 17th century English naturalist John Tradescant the Elder and contains an estimated 70–71 species. In Florida, there are nine species, four of which are native to the state. Burns et al. used DNA sequencing to support the placement of T. fluminensis within the Tradescantia genus. The specific name fluminensis comes from the Latin fluminis, which means “a river” and refers to the Brazilian region of Rio de Janeiro.

It is a member of the Commelinaceae family, which includes roughly 650 species worldwide. Because both invasive and non-invasive species are found in several genera, the taxonomy shows that multiple evolutionary origins of invasiveness exist within the family (Burns 2004). Green wandering Jew, inch plant, small-leaf wandering Jew, small-leaf spiderwort, wandering Willy, and white-flowered wandering Jew are some of the other frequent names for this plant.


1. The shade-tolerant Tradescantia fluminensis can grow in light levels ranging from 1% to 90% normal daylight throughout most of the year. In low-canopy settings, such as fragmented forest communities or forest margins, the species grows most vigorously and produces the most biomass (Standish et al. 2001).

2. The species prefers damp environments, such as riparian zones and woodland margins. It might be able to sequester nutrients from the soil’s upper (organic) layer (Standish et al. 2001). When external nitrogen supply would normally limit development, nitrate (NO3 -) is stored in shoots and then used to continue growth (Maule et al. 1995).

3. White coloured polysymmetric blooms with centrifugal development characterise Tradescantia fluminensis.

4. Each flower has five or six stamens, each with a bright yellow anther at the tip, and all stamens are fertile.

5. Blooms are only present for a few hours. Flowering is more common in the spring and fall in northern Florida.

6. A single vertically oriented leaf-bearing stem of around 50–60 cm in length precedes a 30–150 cm horizontal leafless stem with roots at the nodes in most plants.

7. The waxy leaves feature a vivid green colour. Along the stem, there is little to no branching.

8. The apex of the horizontal stem grows, whereas the back end of the horizontal stem decays. Most of the time, the tiny root system does not reach beneath the leaf litter and humus layers.

9. The flower stalk is slender and similar in diameter to the stem of the plant, distinguishing it from Gibasis pellucida (Tahitian Bridalveil) (versus a long, thin flower stalk in G. pellucida).

10. The presence of vivid yellow anthers distinguishes it from Callisia cordifolia (Florida roseling) (versus snowy white anthers in C. cordifolia). T. fluminensis can be distinguished from other spiderworts in Florida by these characteristics, which are combined with the lack of seed production.



Herbicides are thought to be the only practical way to manage significant T. fluminensis infestations. Spraying from a vehicle, backpack spraying, and hand-spraying are some of the application methods. Tradescantia fluminensis is tough to eradicate and will almost certainly necessitate many herbicide applications to get satisfactory results. The best and most consistent control appears to be foliar applications of 0.3 per cent triclopyr amine in water with a non-ionic vegetable oil surfactant (like Dyne-Amic) added. In water and the surfactant, this amounts to using 6% Brush-B-Gon, 5% Brush Killer, or 1% Garlon 3A.

Much of the herbicide control research has been done in New Zealand with chemicals that are either not registered in the US, have active ingredients with use restrictions for natural areas in the US, or have trade names that refer to different active ingredients outside the US than the same trade name used in the US.


Physical removal of the plants necessitates extra caution to ensure that all stem segments are removed to avoid regrowth. Only when regulating small colonies is this labour-intensive strategy a viable alternative (Standish 2001). In a study comparing herbicide, hand-removal, and shading treatment methods for T. fluminensis, it was discovered that hand-removal was more effective than herbicide treatment in terms of % coverage decrease (Standish 2002).


Standish (2002) discovered that artificial shade was the most efficient way to keep T. fluminensis under control while preventing invasion by non-indigenous plants. Following 17 months of artificial shading (three layers of shade cloth wrapped over metal frames), light levels were lowered to 2%–5% of full sunshine, and T. fluminensis cover was reduced to the equivalent of 40% coverage (Standish 2002). For unshaded plots, the percentage cover remained at 100 per cent.

Planting native woody plants in T. fluminensis-dominated areas may reduce the quantity of accessible light over time, reducing the plant’s coverage. Shade-tolerant native forest species may not grow in areas where T. fluminensis is being controlled. However, if T. fluminensis dominates, shade-intolerant species may be unable to establish themselves in places with greater light levels (10% to 30% full light).


T. fluminensis currently has no effective biological control agents. The presence of flavonoids in the plant’s leaves may inhibit generalist insect herbivores, but it may also cause specialised insects to adapt. Plant bugs belonging to the Hemiptera family Miridae (plant bugs) show promise as biological control agents. These insects are likely to injure fresh T. fluminesis shoots, resulting in deformed shoots and lower plant biomass.

Fungi, for example, are promising possibilities for biological control. Physopella tecta (synonym Phakopsora tecta), a rust fungus, has been found to use T. fluminensis as a host.

T. albiflora virus, Tradescantia mild mosaic Potyvirus, and Tradescantia-Zebrina Potyvirus are among the plant viruses known to infect T. fluminensis. Necrotic sores, stunted, withered, or deformed leaves, mosaic, and mottling are all signs of these plant viruses. Despite its origins in a cool temperate area (southeastern Russia), the T. albiflora virus could be a good candidate for biocontrol development.


Tradescantia’s management strategy should be effective. Fluminensis should include activities such as public education and/or physical environment modification to minimise spread through landscape waste dumping. Signage should be placed in vulnerable places, such as grounds adjacent to two-lane highways with wide shoulders or close to residential areas, to prevent the disposal of yard waste and to monitor for evidence of this species. Before allowing this plant to spread, any instances should be destroyed.


From fragments vegetatively. Bisexual flowers are capable of producing seeds. Humans, waterways, livestock, and road machinery, in rough order of importance, enable spread in Australia and New Zealand, as well as presumably other areas of naturalisation.

Spiderworts are low-maintenance plants that may be grown in full sun or partial shade. Although full sun promotes flower production, part shade is advantageous in hotter summer months. Spiderworts like moist, well-drained soils, but not soggy or dry roots. Deadheading is recommended to improve the appearance of withered petals that hang brown on the plant. By removing wasted blossoms, you can lessen the likelihood of seedlings that are poor or weedy. After the initial bloom phase, leaves tend to fade gradually, or in hot, dry weather, they may go dormant early. Adding more moisture to the soil during the warm months may help to prevent foliar deterioration. When foliar quality deteriorates or plants become overgrown or untidy in appearance, shearing stems to the ground fosters the growth of healthy new leaves later in the season. After shearing, providing more water speeds up the recovery of new leaves. Slugs, snails, leaf spots, and foliar rust are some of the issues that can occur. Frequent overhead irrigation makes foliar diseases worse. In USDA Zones 4–9, garden spiderworts can survive the winter. While spiderworts’ jewel-toned flowers are lovely in garden borders, its slightly wild demeanour suits informal locations like cottage gardens, forests, and waterside plantings. Butterflies and bees swarm the fleeting blossoms in an attempt to take advantage of the limited bloom days. Spiderworts pair well with geraniums (Geranium), catmints (Nepeta), blue stars (Amsonia), and grasses in the spring and early summer. Hostas (Hosta), astilbes (Astilbe), lungworts (Pulmonaria), and ferns (Hosta, Astilbe, Astilbe, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pul When spiderworts are trimmed back or become dormant in midsummer, they’ll leave a less noticeable hole if they’re planted next to each other.


Question: What is the meaning of the term “tropical spiderwort”?

Tropical spiderwort is an invasive Federal Noxious Weed that has spread throughout Georgia. Tropical spiderwort is normally an annual in Georgia, although it can become permanent if the weather is warm. Tropical spiderwort is considered one of the world’s worst weeds, according to several experts. Tropical spiderwort is unique in that it flowers both above and below ground. Tropical Spiderwort grows in dense clumps that can suffocate other plants, particularly low-growing crops.

Question: What are the uses of the Small-Leaf Spiderwort Plant?

ANS: Tradescantia fluminensis is a popular houseplant that requires little maintenance. A farmer initially introduced it to New Zealand to help stabilise a steep bank.

Question: Which family does Small-Leaf Spiderwort Plant?

Ans: Commelinaceae

Question: What is the scientific name of the Small-Leaf Spiderwort Plant?

Ans: Tradescantia fluminensis

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *