Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Tradescantia fluminensis
Vell., Commelinaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results: 

High risk, score: 17 (Go to the risk assessment (Pacific)).
Reject, score: 18 (Go to the risk assessment (U.S. Florida)).

Common name(s): [more details]

English: small-leaf spiderwort, spiderwort, trad, wandering Jew

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Trailing perennial with succulent stems, rooting readily at nodes, ascending above.  Leaves 3-6 cm long, ovate-elliptic, acute, shining, very shortly petioled, leaf- and petiole-margins ciliate; sheaths 5-10 mm long, loosely clasping, hyaline, obviously ciliate.  Flowers several in umbels with 2 unequal leaf-like bracts; pedicels slender, to 1.5 cm long; sepals green, c. 7 mm long, ovate, hairy on keel; petals white, delicate, c. 10 mm long, ovate to elliptic. T. fluminensis is recognised by the ± succulent, trailing, rooting stems, ciliate leaf sheaths, and 3 acute white petals"  (Healy & Edgar, 1980; pp. 39-40).

"Prostrate, rooting at the nodes; leaves oblong to oblong-ovate, 3-7 cm long, acute, glabrous; sheath hairy at summit; umbels many-flowered, subtended by 2 lance-ovate bracts; petals white, 6 mm long, filaments hairy" (Munz & Keck, 1959; p. 1325).

Habitat/ecology:  "An aggressive smothering creeper which rapidly takes over the ground layer in gullies and temporary watercourses, forming a dense cover of leaves that exclude light and warmth. Blankets low plants and seedlings, cools the soil, prevents native plant germination. Tolerates shade, sun and drought, but is frost tender. Highly invasive"  (Weeds of Blue Mountains bushland).

In California, "common in cultivation and becoming naturalized in damp places" (Munz & Keck, 1959; p. 1325). In New Zealand, "established in damp shaded places—waste land, domestic gardens, under willows etc. along river and stream banks and in some localities forms dense ± succulent communities in forest remnants and damaged forest near settlement, especially in areas damaged by cattle trampling. Wandering Jew competes with and often suppresses indigenous ground layer ferns, herbs, and young plants of shrubs and trees, and inhibits growth of seedlings" (Healy & Edgar, 1980; pp. 39-40).

Propagation:  Rooting from pieces and cuttings. "Seeds and broken pieces of stems are sometimes dispersed by flood waters, initiating further infestations downstream" (Healy & Edgar, 1980; pp. 39-40).

Native range:  South America (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay) (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 22)
"Escaped from cultivation in a few places". Voucher cited: J. Pickard 3476 (NSW)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
Cuevas, Jaime G./Marticorena, Alicia/Cavieres, Lohengrin A. (2004) (p. 538)
Voucher cited: JF 845
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (pp. 462, 466, 558)
Voucher cited: Danton B(687)654
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más Afuera (Alejandro Selkirk Island) introduced
invasive
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (pp. 462, 466, 558)
Voucher cited: Danton G(1431)1196
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Isabela Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Volcán Alcedo, Isabela Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rurutu Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral R./Imada, Clyde T. (2006) (pp. 6-7)
Vouchers cited: D. Herbst 9877 (BISH), Imada & Arakaki 99-48 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral R./Imada, Clyde T. (2006) (pp. 6-7)
Voucher cited: H. Oppenheimer et al. H-40202 (BISH)
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands introduced
Kato, Hidetoshi (2007)
Nauru
Nauru Island
Nauru Island introduced
cultivated
Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. (1994) (p. 49)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
Harley, Barbara (2009)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
Queensland Herbarium (2002) (p. 8)
Chile (continental)
Chile
Chile (Republic of)   Hafliger, E. (1092) (p. 110)
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 304)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 191)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Healy, A. J./Edgar, E. (1980) (p. 39)
Voucher cited: H. Carse (AK 95206)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Owen, S. J. (1997)
Thailand
Thailand
Thailand (Kingdom of)   Holm, Leroy/Pancho, Juan V./Herberger, James P./Plucknett, Donald L. (1979) (p. 364)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
invasive
Munz, P. A./Keck, D. D. (1959) (p. 1325)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, Lousiana
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  Reported to be invasive in the Canary Islands.

Control: 

Physical:  "Small infestations can be removed by hand.  Larger infestations are removed by raking or rolling up the plants.  Killing by solarization is used in warmer locations, the plastic sheeting should last for 2-6 weeks.

Chemical:  An effective herbicide is paraquat.  Follow-up treatments are necessary to control regrowth"  (Weber, 2003; p. 436).

"1. Spray: triclopyr 600 EC (6ml/L + penetrant) or Yates Hydrocotyle Killer (30ml/L + penetrant) or triclopyr 300 EC (12ml/L). 90+% kill. Follow up quickly (2-3 months) before plant recovers. 2-3 treatments needed for total control. 
2. Weed wipe: triclopyr 600 EC (250ml/L + penetrant) or triclopyr 300 EC (500ml/L). Follow up as above.
3. Spray: glyphosate (20ml/L + penetrant) or triclopyr 600 EC (3ml/L + penetrant) or Yates Hydrocotyl Killer (15ml/L + penetrant). Follow up quickly (2-3 months) before plant recovers. 2-3 treatments needed for control"  (Weedbusters New Zealand).

Biological: See Standish, 2001.


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This page was created on 18 JAN 2004 and was last updated on 23 AUG 2011.