Tradescantia spathacea

Tradescantia spathacea (Moses in the cradle)

(Moses in the Cradle)




Tradescantia spathacea

Common name(s)

Moses in the Cradle

Main colour(s)

White flowers

Large fleshy leaves, green topside and purple underneath


.5 - 1m tall


Orpheus Island Research Station


Moses in the cradle is a native of southern Mexico that has been widely naturlised throughout the world. It is regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland and is listed in the global Invasive species database (GISD).

A evergreen clumping plant growing to growing to around ½ - 1m in height. The leaves are glossy and green with distinctively purple undersides. The small white flowers are arranged in a boat shaped structure. Stem fragments can also give rise to new plants.

Sites where this species can be found at OIRS

This plant has been seen on OIRS since the station was established in 1978 and is thought to have been originally introduced as a house plant whilst Pioneer Bay was occupied as part of a fishing and oyster lease. It is rarely found with main areas located being around staff quarters and next to Pelorus House.

Research that has been undertaken at OIRS


2010: Approximately 2kg removed offsite by OIRS volunteers

2011: Approximately 1kg removed offsite by OIRS volunteers

2012: Approximately 30kg removed offsite by OIRS volunteers