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Plants of the UNF Campus

Rhoeo spathacea - Oyster plant
Family Commelinaceae


This is a small genus of plants sometimes included in the genus Tradescantia. The oyster plant is native to Mexico. It is a small plant with a rosette of leaves. The leaves may be green, variegated, or purplish. The typical plant makes clumps of rosettes, each about twelve to sixteen inches across. Small white flowers are produced between two oblong bracts that vaguely resemble the two shells of an oyster. A dwarf form with a three to four inch rosette is the most common in cultivation in Florida. 


Plants can be seen in the planters at the entrance to the library.


Small herbaceous plant with leaves that stand four to twelve inches tall, depending on the cultivar.

Care Instructions:

Light: part shade

Water: drought tolerance once established

Soil: well-drained soil is essential, no other special requirements

Other – handle broken leaves and stems with care, sap contains calcium oxalate rhapides that can be irritating to tender skin

Oyster plant tolerates a wide range of conditions. It is somewhat cold tender outdoors in north Florida.