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800pxTradescantiafluminensis1

Tradescantia sp, commonly known as the Spiderworts, and even more frequently called "Wandering Jew". Is an extremely common cause of contact allergies in our doggy friends. This plant is extremely common in the queensland backyard, often accepted as a ground cover plant in some gardens. Here are a range of pictures of various subspecies and thier flowers. As you can see the species can have many forms.

Zebrina pendula

Commelina diffusa

Wandering Jew is a common cause of contact allergies in dogs. The problem normally affects the underbelly, armpits and groin of the dog, as well as ears and face. Starting as pustules surrounded by red skin which the dog will self traumatize - occassionally leading the bleeding and raw skin.

In the past few weeks I have seen at least 6 cases of confirmed allergy to this plant. The best recommendation I can give is to remove the plant from the garden. Failing that prevent the dog accessing the plant.

From the DPI QLD website. http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/dpi/hs.xsl/4790_7385_ENA_HTML.htm

In a recent review of this article I was able to identify another species of plant that may be incorrectly identified as Wandering Jew and is probably more common in south east Queensland.   This plant is not considered a noxious weed however does seem very good at proliferating in sunny areas.

I am still unsure as to whether this species is also allergenic but I suspect it might be. The plant has small hairs on the main stems that could plausibly cause allergic reaction in dogs.

Commelina diffusa Commelinaceae Wandering Jew 01 0005 Mt Stuart

General information

A native of South America, wandering jew (Tradescantia fluminernsis), also called Trad, is a fleshy-leaved creeping plant that grows as a ground cover.

A good, non-invasive native alternative to wandering jew is scurvy grass (Commelina diffusa).

Wandering jew is not a declared plant under Queensland legislation, however its control is recommended.

Scientific name Tradescantia fluminernsis
Impacts
  • out-competes native vegetation along streams and gullies
  • smothers ground by sending out roots at each nodal point
Description
  • green shiny leaves with parallel veins covered with small hairs
  • small white three-petalled flowers produced mainly in spring
  • stems and leaves are weak and easily broken
Habitat and distribution
  • establishes as thick carpet-like groundcover in moist, shady areas
  • considered a major environmental weed in subtropical and temperate rainforests
Control
  • hand weeding to remove whole plant including roots and nodes is effective but labour intensive
  • herbicides effective
  • see the wandering jew fact sheet for more information
Declaration details
  • not a declared plant under Queensland legislation but may be declared under local government law

 

Based on this information and the fact that it causes problems for our canine companions I think it should be removed from gardens. To remove it your best bet is a good metal rake. "Rinse and repeat fortnightly as they say" Herbicides are not effective not to mention unhealthy.

Treatment

Treatments depends on the severity of the case. Mild cases may just need a bath to wash away the allergens. Moderate cases may need an injection of cortisone to relieve the allergic reaction. Severe ongoing cases may need more intestive therapy with antibiotics, pain relief and anti- inflammatories.

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