return to: checklist; keys; family Commelinaceae

Tradescantia spathacea Sw. (=Rhoeo spathacea (Sw.) Stearn, Rhoeo discolor (L'Her.) Hance ex Walp.)

Herbaceous monocot; stems short, leaves forming a rosette cluster near the ground; leaves alternate, simple, elongate, margins entire, apex acute, green or green and purple; inflorescnece axillary, contained within a pair of boat-like bracts; flowers small, delicate; petals 3, white.

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Watery juice from the plant will irritate and redden the skin; hence it can be used as a sort of rouge to impart a rosy glow to one's cheeks.

Much as with Commelina diffusa, juice from freshly crushed plants will staunch bleeding. Decoctions have been used to treat a wide variety of genito-urinary tract ailments (Morton 1981).