Weed of the month - Wandering jew

wanderingjewA native to South America, Wandering jew (Tradescantia fluminernsis) or as it’s some times called “Trad” is a fleshy-leaved creeping plant that grows as a ground cover.

It is popular in gardens as it establishes easily in moist shady areas.

Wandering jew has become a major environmental weed in many areas particularly along streams and gullies where it spreads quickly and out competes other natives.

Infestations of this plant up to 1 metre deep have been found in north Queensland.

wanderingjew2Wandering jew has fleshy green shiny leaves with noticeable parallel veins and each leaf has a sheath at the base covered in small hairs. The stems and leaves of this plant are weak and easily broken. Small white three-petalled flowers are produced primarily in spring.

Wandering jew sends out roots at each nodal point allowing it to trail over the ground to form a thick carpet-like cover. Wandering jew reproduces via stolons (above ground runners), seed and tubers. Hand weeding to carefully remove the whole plant including the roots and nodes is effective but can be labour intensive.

All plant material removed should be placed into a black plastic bag and placed in the sun for a few days before being disposed with house hold rubbish. There are a few chemicals registered for the control of wandering jew. (All herbicides must be applied strictly in accordance with the directions on the label)

wanderingjew3The weed wandering jew is not to be confused with a similar looking plant Commelina diffusa (native wandering jew) native to south-east Queensland. Native Wandering jew has blue flowers (usually in autumn) and a slender tapered leaf, unlike the weed species who’s leaves are fleshier, rounded and glossier. The native wandering jew is not an environmental weed. 

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