Full nameTradescantia zebrina ‘Quadricolor’.
Name statusAccepted, the valid name for a unique cultivar.

Established with a description and drawing by Regel (1884, p. 125-126).

The cultivar was originally published as ‘Multicolor Mme Lequesne’, but ‘Quadricolor’ is now the most-widely used name and so is accepted (Brickell et al., 2016, Art. 29.2).

Also known as:
Not to be confused with:
OriginsSport from an unspecified Tradescantia zebrina plant (most likely to have been Superba Group), selected by Stanislas Lequesne in Rouen, France (Pynaert, 1879, p. 169).
ClassificationThe species Tradescantia zebrina is sometimes labelled with its botanical synonyms Tradescantia pendula, Zebrina pendula and Cyanotis zebrina.
Legal protectionNone.
AvailabilityAvailable from some specialist nurseries.


Described with reference to the RHS Colour Chart (6th Edition: 2019 reprint).

Preserved in a herbarium specimen (“Tradescantia zebrina ‘Quadricolor'”, 2023).

SpeciesTradescantia zebrina.
Growth habitStems are initially upright, but soon begin to sprawl and trail as they get longer.
FoliageStems are 2-4mm wide, with internodes 1-5cm long, smooth and hairless. The colour ranges from strong yellow green (144B) to moderate reddish brown (177A), with lighter green freckles.

Leaves are asymmetrical pointed ovals, 4-7cm long and 2-4cm wide. The upper surface is smooth, sometimes with scattered hairs near the edges. Each half of the leaf has a bold silver stripe running its length, taking up 50-70% of its total width. The leaves are also overlaid with random pale sectors, which can cover anything from 0-100% of the leaf surface.

The base colour of the upper leaf surfaces is moderate yellowish green (138A), and the silver bands are greyish yellow green (191A) with a glittery metallic appearance. The pale sectors can range from pale greenish yellow (13D) to very pale purple (75D). In intense light, the leaves become speckled with dark purple (79A) or dark purplish red (N79A), and the leaf margins are strong purplish red (72A).

The leaf undersides are shimmery and moderate yellow green (138A) in moderate light, becoming dark purplish red (N79A) in intense light. Where there are pale sectors, these show through as strong purplish red (72A) on the underside. Sheaths are light yellow green (145C), striped with darker veins in intense light.
Flowers10-15mm across. Petals are strong purplish red (72B) to deep reddish purple (77A). Stamen filaments are purple, anthers and pistil are white.


Pynaert, E. (1879). Tradescantia multicolor Mme Lequesne. Revue de l’Horticulture Belge et Étrangère [Journal of Belgian and foreign horticulture], 5. Google Books link.

Regel, E. (1884) Katalog von Ferdinand Jühlke Nachfolger [Catalog of Ferdinand Jühlke’s successors]. Gartenflora: Allgemeine Monatsschrift [Garden flora: General monthly journal], pp. 125-126. Biodiversity Heritage Library link.

Brickell, C. D., Alexander, C., Cubey, J. J., David, J. C., Hoffman, M. H. A., Leslie, A. C., Malécot, V., Jin, X. (2016). International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. PDF link.

Tradescantia zebrina ‘Quadricolor’. (2023). [Herbarium specimen, barcode WSY0155546]. RHS Wisley Herbarium.