Trad

(Also known as Tradescantia, Wandering Jew)

Tradescantia fluminensis

Family: Commelinaceae

Type of weed:

Flowering Months: , , , , , , ,

Description

Trad is a rapidly growing, scrambling perennial herb with soft, succulent stems that root at nodes to form large clumps.

Leaves are 2.5–5.5 cm long, the leaf-blade with minute hairs on the margins, narrowing toward the base and then expanding to a broad sheath around the stem, the upper margin of the sheath with long hairs.

Flowers are small, white with three triangular petals 7–10 mm long. It flowers spring to autumn.

Seeds are grey, about 1 mm long.

Note: Trad causes dermatitis in dogs if they roll in it.

Don’t confuse with…

Trad can be confused with the native plant Commelina (Commelina cyanea).

Commelina has blue flowers and weak fleshy roots. Trad leaves are usually purple on the back of the leaf and are broader and shorter, on thicker stems. Trad is noticeably hairy at the nodes, whilst the hair is very hard to see on Commelina.

The native Basket Grass (Oplismenus spp.) is sometimes confused with Trad as they both have similar shaped leaves, but Trad leaves are fleshy and glossier.

Dispersal

Trad spreads by fragments of stem that easily root, in dumped garden waste and when fragments of stem are washed down waterways.

Impact on bushland

Trad grows rapidly in damp, shaded, nutrient enriched areas.

Trad forms a thick blanket of leaves that excludes light from native ground cover and smothers low growing native plants and seedlings. It prevents native plant regeneration and dramatically reduces biodiversity.

Distribution

,

Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Weeping Meadow Grass (Microlaena stipoides)
  • Native Violet(Violai hederacea)
  • Kidney Weed (Dichondra repens)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

Trying to remove this weed is tricky because the stem breaks so easily at the nodes.

All parts of the plant must be removed as it can easily put down new roots from any fragment.

  • Hand remove using a knife, taking care to remove all parts of the plant.
  • Raking and rolling the Trad towards you into coils which are easy to pick up and remove.
  • Trad is easily composted, or treat by putting it into or under black plastic and leaving it in a sunny place to bake for approximately six weeks, or feed to chooks.
  • Large patches of dense Trad that are away from water and have no native plants can be treated with herbicide.

Staged control is preferable to widespread rapid control because Trad can act as a filter for stormwater runoff and as a buffer to other weeds. It is recommended to treat small areas and check what native plant or weed regeneration occurs in response to the removal of Trad,

Refer to the NSW Department of Primary Industry’s Noxious and Environmental Weed Control Handbook.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: