Wandering Jew


Family: Commelinacae

Scientific Name: Tradescantia fluminensis

Common Name: Wandering Jew

Native range & habitat of species: Wandering Jew are commonly found in tropical rain forests. However, Wandering Jew are also in the United States. They are found mostly in moist, nutrient rich habitats.

Description of plant: Wandering Jew is a suitable plant for a hanging pot. It is also used as a ground cover. Wandering Jew have 2" wide 4" long leaves. Their elongated with pointed tips. They are striped dark green and silver. The underside of the leaves are purplish. Wandering Jew foliage can be several feet in length which makes this plant most likeable for horticultural use.

Biological Information: The Wandering Jew should not be kept in direct sunlight but in a humid area. The ideal temperature for growth is between 60 and 80 degrees. The plant will grow rapidly if watered enough and fertilized properly. It is a good plant for beginners because it is easy to care for. The Zebrina pendula, which is another type of Wandering Jew causes skin inflammation, if you touch its watery sap.

Background Information: **Folklore: "A legendary figure. The Wandering Jew, Ahasverus, a cobbler, insulted Jesus Christ when he was bearing the cross to Golgotha. Jesus, exhausted, leaned against a door to rest and the owner, Ahasverus, chased him away, not wanting convicts at his door. God condemned him to be without a house and to wander the earth until Judgement Day. He prays to Christ to come quickly, but Christ is carrying his cross so he cannot walk fast. Christ replies: "Suffering makes me tarry but thou shalt wander until I arrive." The Wandering Jew is rejuvinated every thirty years, Christ's age at crucifixion. Over the years he becomes a wise man who represents his sins, urging others to do likewise so as to avoid the wrath of God."

Wandering Jew - Tradescantia zebrina

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**The Encyclopedia Mythica (1995-2000). An encyclopedia on mythology, folklore, and legend. Retrieved October 3, 2000 from the World Wide Web: http://www.pantheon.org/ mythica/articles/w/wandering_jew.html