Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Manhattan’s Purple Heart

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Purple Heart, also known as the Purple Queen, Tradescantia pallida.

Photographed in Manhattan’s Lincoln Center
in a planter in the middle of Broadway.

Image: GrrlScientist, 16 June 2009 [larger view].

I have a tactile memory of this plant, but I cannot recall the species. Can you identify this species of flowering plant?

Purple Heart, also known as the Purple Queen, Tradescantia pallida (also known by Setcreasea purpurea or Setcreasea pallida due to the still poorly known nature of this plant), is an evergreen perennial plant endemic to the Gulf Coast region of Mexico. This hardy plant is widely used as an ornamental ground cover because it is remarkably shade-tolerant and can thrive in a wide range of soil conditions. It is propagated easily by cuttings, which explains how I remember this plant, since I propagated it when I was a kid. T. pallida‘s hardy nature makes it a dangerous invasive weed in the southern portions of the United States and throughout Australia.

Comments

  1. #1 OmegaMom
    June 18, 2009
  2. #2 alias Ernest Major
    June 18, 2009

    Not a group (Comelinaceae) that I know well, but try Tradescantia virginica.

  3. #3 MWolf
    June 18, 2009

    I agree with Tradescantia (spiderwort). I have only seen T. virginiana with blue/purple flowers and green leaves… flowers only last a day.

  4. #4 "GrrlScientist"
    June 18, 2009

    thanks everyone!

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