Wandering Willie, Wandering Jew
Commelinaceae - Tradescantia fluminensis

What does it look like?

This plant has fleshy, dark green, shiny leaves that are 3-6cm long, oval with pointed tips on hairless, creeping stems. It produces white flowers with three petals from spring to summer.

Why is it a problem?

Tradescantia is shade tolerant and forms dense mats on the forest floor, smothering vegetation and preventing native regeneration. It may cause dermatitis in dogs.

Control Methods

Physical control

  • Cover the area with black plastic for 6 to12 months or
  • Rake into heaps and cover for 6 to 12 months.

Follow up every three months for best control.

For small amounts hand removed, freezing for 24hrs will kill trandescantia and it can then be composted.


  • chickens and stock will eat tradescantia.
  • Three beetles have been released in Northland specifically for tradescantia.


  • Spray with 60ml triclopyr (300g/l e.g. Grazon®) + 10ml penetrant per 10 L water. Follow up every three months for best control.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide, PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed. 


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