Tradescantia spathacea

Tradescantia spathacea.

Family Commelinaceae.
Sometimes seen under the synonym of Rhoeo spathacea.
Its common names are Moses in the Bulrushes or Mosses in the Cradle.

It is common in Queensland where it may be considered a weed.
A semi-succulent plant growing in dense clusters.
The thick stem, up to 20 cm high, is often hidden by the leaves.

The linear to lanceolate leaves, up to 35 cm long, are in overlapping rosettes.
They are up to 5 cm wide, with a pointed tip and a base that sheaths the stem.
The upper surface is green and the underside a bright reddish-purple.
There are a number of hybrids with variegated leaves.

The inflorescences, on short stalks, are axillary and can be partly hidden by the leaves.
They consist of a few flowers surrounded by 2 boat-shaped bracts.
The spathe-like bracts are up to 4 cm across and a deep purple.

The flowers are about 1.5 cm across.
They have 3 thin, white or translucent sepals alternating with 3 white petals.

There are 6 fertile stamens with anthers that release pollen via longitudinal, lateral slits.
The stamen filaments have white hairs.
There is 1 ovule in each of the 3 locules of the ovary.

The fruit is a 3 chambered capsule.