Durban Early Detection and Rapid Response

Moses-in-the-Cradle Tradescantia spathacea

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Common Name
Emerging Weed

This herb is native to Mexico and belongs to the Commelinaceae family. It has fleshy rhizomes and has rosettes of waxy lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are dark to metallic green above, with glossy purple underneath. They will reach up to 30cm long and 7.5cm wide. They are very attractive foliage plants that will reach 30cm tall.

Why is it a problem?
It competes with, and has the potential to replace, indigenous species.
Control method
Individual plants and small patches can be removed by hand-pulling, but all roots and plant fragments must be removed and discarded properly in order to avoid regrowth. There are registered herbicides for this.
Where is it a problem?
This has been a problem in Limpopo, and more recently KwaZulu Natal.

Identifying other species

For help with identifying other species, submit your photo and observations to

The iSpot experts may be able to provide a name.


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