Tradescantia spathacea

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Tradescantia spathacea-Yucatan.jpg
Tradescantia spathacea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Commelinales
Family: Commelinaceae
Genus: Tradescantia
Species: T. spathacea
Binomial name
Tradescantia spathacea

Rhoeo discolor
Rhoeo spathacea
Tradescantia discolor
Tradescantia bicolor

Tradescantia spathacea, the boatlily[1] or Moses-in-the-Cradle, is a herb in the Commelinaceae first described in 1788. It is native to Belize, Guatemala, and southern Mexico (Chiapas, Tabasco, and the Yucatán Peninsula) but widely cultivated as an ornamental and naturalized in parts of Florida, Texas, Hawaii, and various oceanic islands.[2][3][4]

Tradescantia spathacea has fleshy rhizomes and rosettes of waxy lance-shaped leaves. Leaves are dark to metallic green above, with glossy purple underneath. These will reach up to 1 foot (30 cm) long by 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide. They are very attractive foliage plants that will reach 1 foot (30 cm) tall. They are hardy in USDA zones 9-12.


  1. ^ "Tradescantia spathacea". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  2. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution map
  4. ^ Hunt, D. R. 1994. 257. Commelinaceae. 6: 157–173. In G. Davidse, M. Sousa Sánchez & A.O. Chater (eds.) Flora Mesoamericana. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D. F.