‘Silver Smudge’


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

Registered by Rowe (2023).

Also known as:
  • ‘Giant’, an invalid name used for multiple other cultivars.
OriginsUnknown. Named by Cassian Lodge from Wales, UK.
ClassificationThe species Tradescantia zebrina is sometimes labelled with its botanical synonyms Tradescantia pendula, Tradescantia argentea, and Zebrina pendula and Cyanotis zebrina.
Legal protectionNone.
AvailabilityWidely available in the Americas, less common elsewhere. Often only labelled as the species.


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

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

The entire plant can vary its appearance dramatically in different conditions – changing in growth habit, leaf shape, size, and colour. It’s impossible to cover every possible variation, but this general summary describes a typical healthy plant.

SpeciesTradescantia zebrina.
Growth habitStems initially grow upright but soon start to sprawl and trail out of any container.
FoliageStems are 3-7mm wide with internodes 1.5-8cm long, smooth and hairless. The colour ranges from strong yellow green (144A) to dark red (187B) or greyish purple (N77A), with lighter green freckles.

Leaves are slightly asymmetrical pointed ovals, 6-10cm long and 3-5cm wide. The upper surface is smooth but scattered with hairs, especially near the edges. Each half of the leaf has a soft-edged stripe running its length, taking up about 30-50% of its total width.

On new growth, the base colour of the upper surface is moderate yellow green (146B) to greyish olive green (NN137A). The stripes are moderate yellow green (147C) to light greenish grey (188B) with a slight metallic shimmer. Leaf undersides are dark purplish red (N79A) to dark purple (83A), sometimes with pale green (N138C) veins. Sheaths are moderate yellow green (138C), sometimes with red or purple veins.

In intense light, the upper leaf surfaces become freckled and stained with dark red (59A) or deep purplish red (71A), spreading as the leaves age until there is no visible green.


Rowe, A. (2023). Tradescantia cultivar names registered 2022. RHS Cultivar Registration Bulletin, 2, 27. Online edition link.

Tradescantia zebrina ‘Silver Smudge’. (2023). [Herbarium specimen, barcode WSY0168556]. RHS Wisley Herbarium.