T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots
(Unranked): Commelinids
Order: Commelinales
Family: Commelinaceae
Genus: Tradescantia
Species: T. pallida
Binomial name: Tradescantia pallida
Common name: Purple Heart, Purple Queen

Tradescantia pallida (synonym Setcreasea purpurea) is a species of spiderwort native to eastern Mexico, from Tamaulipas to Yucatan. It is an evergreen perennial plant with elongated, pointed leaves 7-15 cm long and small three-petalled white, pink or purple flowers with yellow stamens. The leaves are glaucous green, often with a red or purple fringe, or (in many cultivars) purple throughout, or green and white variegated. The plant thrives in sun or light shade in subtropical areas, grows to 20-40 cm tall.

There is some controversy regarding the correct scientific name for this plant species, with certain authorities continuing to refer to it as Setcreasea purpurea or Setcreasea pallida. The comparatively more recent denomination Tradescantia pallida appears to enjoy greater acceptance and wider usage at the present time.