I’m a gardener, and I love plants and houseplants, but not all are good. Any plant growing in the wrong place is a weed. Some plants are worse than weeds, invaders displace and kill all others. Some invasives are worse than others and need to be outlawed in places where their escape leads to the destruction of native habitat. Trad is such a plant.
Trad, anyone who has ever had a houseplant in America is familiar with this plant. Its botanical name is Tradescantia fluminensis commonly known as Wandering Jew. Online it is described as a perfect indoor vining plant. In the American south it is often planted as a groundcover. It is a killer of the Australian Bush. Yet the only place in the world that it is outlawed is South Africa.
I’ve been going with a team every morning to the Wilson Reserve along the Yarra River in Melbourne attempting to restore the native bush. Mr. Wilson helped raise the money for reserve, but he planted a decorative border of Trad around his boat shed and now it is killing the bush. Everywhere that is not constantly weeded is covered by a meter of dense green vines that stops anything else from growing:
The battle happens one day at a time, one place at a time. We find a native tree or bush and attempt to give it a chance to grow, a cleared space for babies to start. A native tree violet is totally surrounded by Trad, it’s seeds will not have a chance to grow:
We clear the Trad away, so deep that it would make an excellent doona:
With the soil under the Tree Violet cleared it had room to breathe, rain can reach its roots, and the little blue berries can fall on fertile ground and grow into more Tree violets
The next day we weeded an area that had been weeded every six weeks for almost one year. It had been planted with native grasses with a hazel and a blackwood wattle. But the most exciting thing is the native plants that started to grow now that the trad no longer completely smothered them.
As we left I could feel the old River Red Gums breathe a sigh of relief. Finally they had babies growing below them. There was light for the future.