Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Tradescantia spathacea Sm. var. vittata

See also Tradescantia spathacea Sw.  Vittata has leaves with numerous longitudinal, pale yellow stripes above, deep purple beneath.  Curtis’s Botanical Magazine figures both the type [BM t.1192/1809] and the variety variegata, otherwise known as vittata, much more richly coloured. [BM t.5079/1858].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘We cannot say much in praise of the figure of the ordinary state of this very peculiar plant, published at Tab. 1192 of this work, by Mr. Ker, and we are glad of an opportunity to do more justice to it, in representing a state of the plant that has lately been cultivated in gardens, imported, we believe, from Belgium, under the name of Trad. variegata.  It is remarkable for the rich colour of the under side of the leaves, and the variegated yellowish lines on the dark-green upper side.  The species inhabits Mexico, where it is considered to be an aboriginal, but it is cultivated in various of the islands in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the East as well as the West Indies.’  [BM t.5079/1858].

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1857 catalogue [T.970/1857].


Published Mar 12, 2009 - 04:53 PM | Last updated Mar 08, 2010 - 10:47 AM

Illustrated are the purple-backed leaves, variegated with paler stripes on the top.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.5079,1858.

Tradescantia spathacea Sw. vittata | BM t.5079/1858 | BHL

Family Commelinaceae
Region of origin

Central America

Common Name

Moses-in-the-cradle, Three-Men-in-a-boat, Variegated Rhoeo

Name in the Camden Park Record

Tradescantia discolor variegata 

Confidence level high