\"Rosette-forming succulent herb, stems short, leaves crowded, elongate, broadly linear-lanceolate, up to 30-40cm long and 4-6cm wide, the upper surface green, the lower surface rich reddish-purple; inflorescence axillary, short; bracts subsessile, boat-shaped; flowers white; petals 3; stamens 6, ovary 3-celled, cells 1-ovulate; fruit capsular 3-valved; seeds rugose\" (Stone, 1970. in PIER, 2002).
Widely planted as an ornamental, often in cemetaries (PIER, 2002). The sap may cause brief stinging and itching of the skin to some people, and when eaten, oysterplant will cause severe burning pain in the mouth and throat. Relatively tolerant of the allelopathic chemicals (compounds that prevent other plants from growing) put out by Australian pine (Floridata.com).
Primarily grown for bedding, rock gardens, and tropical effects. The reddening effect of the irritating juice has been used for cheek colouring also, (Floridata.com). The flower is used medicinally for the treatment of dysentery, enterorrhagia and hemoptysis (Brach).
Prefers well-drained sites and will grow well on rocks (PIER, 2002). Although it likes soil with substantial organic matter, oysterplant will grow in sand or even coral rock (Floridata.com). It is drought resistant, Likes shade and will invade the forest understory (PIER, 2002).
T. spathacea can reproduce by seeds, cuttings, and discarded plants (PIER, 2002). Broken pieces will resprout easily (Floridata.com). Tradescantia spathacea flowers all year round, and is pollinated by insects, or self-pollinated (Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, 2000).
Principal source: Pacific Island Ecosystem at Risk (PIER),
Floridata.com L.C. Copyright 1996 - 2002
Compiler: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Publication date: 2006-03-23
Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2023) Species profile: Tradescantia spathacea. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=493 on 02-12-2023.