Wandering Jew, Purple Heart, Purple Queen, purple-heart tradescantia;

Commelinales and Zingiberales Week: Commelinaceae, Tradescantia pallida from Delhi: Commelinales and Zingiberales Week: Commelinaceae, Tradescantia pallida (Rose) D. R. Hunt,  Kew Bull. 30:452. 1975
syn:  Setcreasea pallida Rose, Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 13:294. 1911
Setcreasea purpurea Boom
Tradescantia purpurea Boom
Commonly grown ornamental in Delhi, used as ground cover, with reddish leaves and short decumbent branches.
Common name: Purple heart, purple queen

Tradescantia pallida (Rose) D. R. Hunt, Kew. Bull. 30: 452. 1975. Setcreasea pallida Rose, Contr. U. S. Natl. Heb. 13: 294. 1911; S. purpurea Boom. 

Herbs, perennial, succulent. Stems suffused with purpulish violet. Leaves spirally arranged; blade not variegated, suffused with purplish violet, lanceolate-oblong to oblong-elliptic, (4-)7- 15 x 1.5- 3cm, base symmetric, rounded to broadly cuneate, margins ciliate or ciliolate, apex acute, glabrous or glabrescent. Inflorescence terminal, often becoming leaf-opposed, pedunculate; peduncles (3.5-) 4- 13 cm; bracts similar to leaves but usually greatly reduced. Flowers subsessile; pedicels densely white –pillose at summit; sepals distinct, 7-10 mm, pilose basally; petals slightly connate at base, pink clawed, 1.5-2 cm; stamens epipetalous; filaments very sparsely bearded. Capsules 3.5 mm, glbrous. Seeds 2.5-3 mm.
Flowering: Always.

Distribution: Native to Mexico; introduced as garden ornamental.


Tradescantia pallidaTradescantia pallida (Rose) D.Hunt (Syn: Setcreasea purpurea, Setcreasea pallida) photographed at Shantiniketan West Bengal.

Earlier the same plant sp. was posted with Photograph bears smaller leaves.
Please compare the photgraphs.

The leaf size vary a lot in this plant I have observed it because for a long time I used to study genetic toxicology , effect of some toxicants on its pollen grain , which could be observed by anomaly in the meiosis.

Here are mines from Arya PG College Campus

YES, name is correct…
But it becomes a nuisance… a weed that almost can not be controlled once it escapes… we saw that in Florida etc… here in Bengal… I have seen it take over the entire borders and not let anything else thrive….
SO better to keep it in pots and then really destroy when “dead” … not to throw in a heap…
This information does not take awy nicety of your photographs though…

Due to this reason i have planted them in a small separate area.


Rhoeo discolor like pot plant from Hooghly 01-05-12 SK-1:

A net search on Rhoeo discolor gave me all white flowers. Then what this species could be?
Species : Rhoeo discolor (syn. Tradescantia spathacea) ?
Habit & Habitat : herb, pot-plant, garden
Date : 10-03-2012, 10.00 a.m.
Place : Gobra (Hooghly), WB

Tradescantia spathacea is the accepted name for the plant and Rhoeo discolor is considered as its synonym.

Its called the Wandering jew… purple hued leaves … and mauve-pink flowers, the leaves may even be green with magenta or violet stripes.

googling will get you many images with flowers… Wondering jew is called Zebrina pendula ….

The most interesting thing about this plant is the presence of “ring chromosome”. Rhoeo discolor is a diploid

species that form ring or chain chromosome configurations instead of bivalents at meiosis. I am attaching a
paper which is quite interesting as will as image link for your kind considerations.


‘Wandering Jew’ is a strange name! And yes, the net search using your keywords gave me similar flowers, but almost all the images available for Zebrina pendula show different leaf shape.

Based on my understanding Tradescantia and Zebrina are two completely different plant though both comes from the Commelinaceae.
I always though the later was commonly known as the wandering Jew. And for Surajit da I am attaching a link you will come to know about the folklore of “wandering jew”.


Thinking about this, several plants with spreading ground covering habit or good hanging basket plants are the Zebrina and this one that Surajit showed…
May I revise myself and say it aloud that It may be this: Tradescantia pallida
look at a large gallery of pictures at Daves garden at http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/17890/ and read a little more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tradescantia_pallida..

In my lifetime I have owned and nurtured and given away tonnes of cuttings from these..esp when used as a ground cover…
As to the original diagnosis of … that this may be Rhoeo discolor … i only know what I found on the net : one side of the leaf tends to be green and other (Usually the outer) becomes or looks purple..) Stuartxchange  …
AND saw these bi-color leafed ground cover in Bolpur this past winter in various resorts and hotels and some private gardens, very popular it was this season…. did not see any flowers on them though, may be winter is not their season for flowering…
… plant pictures do not seem to me to be Rhoeo discolor… it looks violet on both sides…UNLESS … TELLS US ITS TWO DIFFERENT COLORS on the leaves????
ps several plants with spreading ground covering habits that have violet leaves with or without stripes are called wondering jew in the nursery trade and /or colloquial daily use in different parts of the world…

I am hundred percent correct at what i knew beforehand! I knew i am merely a …, not …!!!

Thank you … for the ID. More and more thank you for giving me an opportunity to renter in this thread. That ring chromosome of … is still haunting me!
Now, …, i have a question, a quick look at your pdf file tells me that the gamets of Rhoeo contain either α or β genome; does that mean there is no grossing over Rhoeo ?

Again a question to …, does the very “spreading ground cover” nature gives the name of this genera “wandering jew”?

Yes, Rhoeo discolor has two genomes indicated by α & β. During the meiotic segregation chromosomes comprising of each genomes moves towards the opposite poles. So that, each gamete has either α or β genome, hence the heterozygous condition (αβ) is maintained in the filial generation. It is believed that homozygous condition (αα or ββ) in Rhoeo leads to lethal mutation. Crossing over and synapsis do happen in the chromosomes but only at the terminal region of the arms along a restricted part. But, the sequential and detailed stages are not quite well understood.

oyi naamer pechhone onek koshto lukhono thakhte pare… … je wiki url diyechhe sheta pordle bujte perechho…
but for those of us who have no such hatred or love for mockery of a particular european class of people we dont get into this, I just said what the usual nursery trade labelled them as… nurseries are more circumspect in NE (USA) states where jewish sentiments may be hurt…
Lets keep the binomials… that’s more politically correct and HUMANE.. and Human….

Thank you very much … for taking care of my curiosity.
As i was reading this very interesting lethal homozygous condition of Tradescantia i was wondering why this plant drew so much attention of scientists so that they went to explore even its genetics! More so because i find that it has no economic uses other than its looks as have been described in – http://www.worldfieldguide.com/species-detail.php?taxno=2859&gr=world

However, thank you once again for spending some time for me.

I think the ID, Tradescantia pallida, is correct and my images do match with the species at – Dave’s Garden. I think the first pic in my post also shows that the both side of the leaves are violet. So, it cannot be Rhoeo discolor…. That’s why i had mentioned i am not … 🙂

And, …, not only this time, long before i knew that if we make a list of 100 most important persons, covering last 150 years, who contributed greatly to enhance quality of life, be it science or arts, cinema, music etc., i think, a particular European community, we are talking about, contributed the most. Some of the most powerful & developed countries should admit that! Bishesh gumpha jukta ekjon-er proti ekoda big-boss-er kritagna thaka uchit !!!

This is neither of the two but Setcreasea pallida.

Sorry the correct name now is Tradescantia pallida.

It is previously known as Setcreasia purpurea, now correctly Tradescantia pallida, as … wrote.

Tradescantia with Pollinator : 2 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)

Bee playing with yellow anther lobe of Tradescantia
image taken at our department garden, Shivaji University.

Check for Tradescantia pallida (Rose) D.R.Hunt
efi thread


Tradescantia pallida :: TMC Biodiversity Park :: 15 APR 18 : 2 posts by 2 authors. 2 images.
TMC Biodiversity Park  Thane
Date: April 15, 2018 … Altitude: about 15 m (50 feet) asl
Tradescantia pallida  (Rose) D.R.Hunt


Swamy/New series/ID/17 – ID of the Plant Tradescantia pallida: 4 images.

Please confirm/ suggest the ID for the plant photographed in my garden  on 25.5.2021. My ID Tradescantia pallida  commonly known as ‘ purple heart’

Yes, agree as per images at Tradescantia pallida (Rose) D.R.Hunt


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