Why Is It Called Wandering Jew Plant? (Origin, Name Come From)

Have you ever wondered why the Wandering Jew Plant is called Wandering Jew? Do you have any theories? Well, it turns out there are a few possible reasons for this unique name. In this blog, I’ll explore the possible origins of this curious name, tracing its history from ancient folklore to the 21st century. Come along with me on a journey of discovery – who knows what interesting facts we’ll uncover!

Why is it called wandering jew plant?

The reason why this plant is called wandering jew is because according to the legends, a man (who is Jew) actually taunt Jesus and this lead to him walking or wandering on the earth until the resscetion of jesus. And there are various other stories and tales which says that this Man might be a trademan who is just happen to be there or a shoemaker who is just doing his work but said things which shouldn’t be said.

The most popular plant commonly referred to as the “Wandering Jew Plant” is Tradescantia Zebrina, which is a perennial houseplant with striking variegated green and white leaves. It’s interestingly named for its lush foliage that have an appearance of movable foliage. The academic name derives from the 17th-century English collector of plants John Tradescant who brought it to England from Muscovy (Russia).

The common name “Wandering Jew Plant” has an interesting backstory. It comes from Jewish folklore where a man named Ahasuerus would wander for eternity for his part in sentencing Jesus to die on the cross. In some regions, this plant has acquired certain supercilious connotations, so it’s best not to call your planter by the name “Wandering Jew” in mixed company.

In recent years, its popularity has risen due to how easy it is less susceptible to infestations if cared properly. Since they are one of the few plants that thrive in low light conditions and don’t demand daily watering, they are considered relatively hardy if taken care of well and placed in sunny climates or where there is bright but indirect light available.

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8 Benefits Of Wandering Jew plants (Inch plant Tradescantia)

No matter what you chose to call it – Wandering jew plant or Tradescantia Zebrina – we can agree that these long leaves houseplants can fill any home with lush interior foliage with minimal care required.

Who named the wandering jew plant?

The origin of the name “wandering jew” for this popular, low-growing houseplant is quite interesting. This herbaceous perennial is native to Central and South America, where it grows as a groundcover. It was likely introduced to Europe around 1850 and has since been cultivated worldwide.

The plant’s common name comes from its European origin, as legend has it that a wandering Jew was placed under a curse, causing him to wander the earth forever. Because the plant starts out in one place, but then spreads and covers large areas of land like what happened with the wandering Jew of legend, people began calling it the “wandering jew plant”.

The scientific name of this delightful indoor foliage plant also references its curious origins. The species is officially known as Tradescantia fluminensis because its Latin genus Tradescantia pays homage to botanists John Tradescant and his son, John Tradescant Jr., who were famous for their botanical explorations in Europe during 17th century England. The specific epithet fluminensis means “of or from river” in Latin because the original specimens were collected near Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 1833 by Scottish botanist Robert Kay Lindley.

Thus, the wandering jew came to be called such due to its behavior resembling that of an ancient figure cursed to wander forever; while its Latin scientific name honors two monumental European explorers and acknowledges where the first specimens were found.

How did the wandering jew plant get its name?

While there is some debate over the origin of the name “wandering jew plant”, it is thought to be derived from a Biblical character, Jude. According to Jude 1:14 and 19, these two verses describe how Jude was an itinerant figure who often changed his whereabouts.

The wandering jew plant gained its name because of its consistent growth habit – if planted in moist, rich soil and provided ample sunlight they will continually spread and grow across the area! The long stems of the wandering jew reach out from its host pot or plot of garden and search for somewhere to land and establish itself. They are known for their hardiness and their ability to choose landscapes that may otherwise seem inhospitable. Its’ persistence in finding a new home again echoes the story of Jude as he traveled all around looking for a place to call home.

The wandering jew plant also has several other names. These include “spiderwort”, “inchplant”, “Biblical creation”, among many others depending on where it grows natively in different locations around the world such as Central Europe and South America. This variety of wanderings Jew is a fast growing succulent type with small purple flowers that bloom under ideal conditions during springtime – providing even more evidence that perhaps this variety was indeed named after Jude who scattered himself all throughout the world just like these plants do today!

Wandering jew plant name

The wandering jew plant, also known as Tradescantia fluminensis and ‘inch plant’, is one of the most popular indoor houseplants. It is distinguished by its leathery, purple-tinged leaves and thick stems covered with soft hairs, which are commonly striped in shades of purple, green and silver. Although the plant can be propagated by stem cuttings or by seeds, it has become a widespread houseplant due to its reputation for being a hardy survivor of neglectful houseplant owners.

So why is it called wandering jew? Although officially based on the genus name Tradescantia referring to English naturalist John Tradescant (1570s-1638), folk etymology suggests that it might be because the Jews were thought of as wanderers in earlier times when they were persecuted during their diaspora. The legend goes that this plant was so hardy that it survived through these journeys and became known as the ‘wandering Jew’.

Another explanation may refer to a monk named William of Rubruck who toured through 1253 Palestine and noticed how ubiquitous this plant was across much of the region at the time. Its growing appearances stirred up some rumors that this could be an immortal version of an exiled Jew: so persistent in surviving on land — wherever it is found — hence its name “Wandering Jew”.

In both theories, its name is derived from Jewish history but far from being only a symbol for internal displacement though persistence; t he wandering jew plant continues to be sought out nowadays for its resilience despite reported lack of attention and caring.

All About Wandering jew plant (Tradescantia Zebrina )

The Wandering Jew plant is one of the most popular houseplants, due to its beautiful foliage and easy-care requirements. It also lends itself to holiday decorating with creative plant displays. But why is it called the Wandering Jew plant?

The origin apparent in the common name of this trendy houseplant is shrouded in legend, dating back to biblical times. There are variations of this story, but the biblical figure or character in question was a Hebrew man known as Ahasuerus who stood by and mocked Jesus during his crucifixion. So angered by this impertinence that Jesus curses him with eternal life, that he would be forced to wander the earth until Christ’s return.

In modern times, this story has been adapted to fit popular culture and given many plants a more mystical appeal. The main feature that makes it stand out from other houseplants are its variegated leaves with three stripes. These white stripes may represent Jesus’ crown of thorns or the stripes imposed on Ahasuerus for disrespecting Christ on the cross – hence why it is referenced as a type of wandering Jew or Tradescantia Zebrina.In folklore, “wandering Jew” refers specifically to people condemned to wander without respite until Judgment Day arrives at last – much like this plant’s zigzag stems crawling around your living room! The plant can reach up to 30 cm (12 inches) tall in pot cultures with long stems strewn outwards off many nodes connected by fragile joints like bridges between themselves much like a zombie awaiting life-giving fresh soil for resurrection ! Another distinctive feature is its bright green lanceolate-shaped leaves whorled about one after another along these stems similarly reminiscent of a zombie carrying bones resembling limbs as it lurches forward–all adding extra appeal and sense of intrigue related back to its mythical origin!

Wandering jew plant Origin

The wandering jew plant, also known by its scientific name of Tradescantia, is a common flowering plant from the Commelinaceae family. Its name comes from a legend about a Jew who traveled or ‘wandered’ nearly 2000 years ago. According to the legend, Jesus’ followers drove him out of Jerusalem with accusations that he had betrayed Jesus, while in reality he was simply looking for help—an act of compassionate kindness.

The Latin genus name ‘Tradescantia’ was first used in 1730 and may refer to two men, John Tradescant the Elder and his son John Tradescant the younger – naturalists who collected many plants in Europe and later North America. The species name is oftentimes derived from Latin as well. Many species are named after people or places associated with them, while others are named after specific characteristics such as size or color.

In addition to their mythical origin story, wandering jew plants have some interesting characteristics that make them popular in home gardens and flowerpots. They have an easily spread rhizome root system; many growers find this feature useful for propagation and use it lik a movable groundcover – hence their common name as Wandering Jews! Additionally, they come in various colors such as purple-violet or pink-white depending on variety and can also be grown indoors if provided adequate sunlight though not direct sun exposure for extended periods of time.

The wandering jew plant has been around for centuries because of its unique origin story and adaptability. As an ornamental perennial that provides lush colors to both outdoor gardens and indoor decorations alike due to their variability of colors and ease of propagation with their stem cuttings; they make an excellent choice for anyone looking to add some extra interest to their home environment.

Why We’re No Longer Using The Name Wandering Jew

how did wandering jew get its name

The ‘Wandering Jew’ is a succulent plant with a very interesting name. It is believed by some to have been given this moniker because of its resemblance to the walking stick, traditionally carried or carried by church figures in the Old Testament and New Testament. But, that’s not the only reason why it is called the Wandering Jew.

It’s also believed that it’s called this because it has a history of being sold as a wandering traveler took pieces of it from region to region, selling some of its propagating pieces via his travels. There’s even a legend that states Jesus handed out pieces of this plant as he made his way through Jerusalem.

Regardless of what we deem to be true, the truth remains that today, many consider this name to be outdated and offensive to the Jewish faith and culture. As such, more modern botanical names like Tradescantia zebrina or inchplant are now used by cultivators and scientists alike when referring to this beautiful flowering succulent.

The humility and roaming habits of this plant are thought to be an allusion to the 40 years the ancient Hebrews spent in the desert. We’re trying to change this shrub to avoid the Wandering Jew’s racist implications. The 19th century gave the shrub its roaming Jew name. Tradescantia zebrina is known as “Wandering Jew” after a mythical figure who supported racism from the 13th century to WWII Nazi propaganda.

Tradescantia, also known as the Wandering Jew (more on that later), Wandering Man, Spiderwort, or Inch plant, is a hanging plant.

A German booklet, “Kurze Beschreibung und Erzählung von einer Juden mit namen Ahasverus,” renewed the name Ahasuerus in 1602. This story depicts Ahasuerus as the Wandering Jew, a Christian mythological figure who must wander the world until the Second Coming because he insulted Jesus during his Execution.

“Wandering Jew” has been applied to a card game, a coin game, and flora and birds. This legend resembles other tales of wanderers, such as Cain, whom Christian homilists like Tertullian (150-230) connect with the Jewish people.

Why you shouldn’t use the term “Wandering Jew”

The Wandering Jew is an unassuming name that has been used in Christianity to refer to a biblical character who taunted Jesus on his way to the Crucifixion. The term refers to one of the characters, Ahasuerus, telling him “we shall never cease from wandering until you come again”. Accordingly, the phrase eventually made its way into colloquial English language vernacular and is used instinctively today to refer a variety interesting plants including purple heart (Tradescantia pallida).

Unfortunately, this current use of the term is unacceptable because it perpetuates negative stereotypes of Jewish people as rootless and impermanent. Further, recent social justice movements have raised awareness about the prevalence of anti-semitic rhetoric and its historical legacy in the English language. As a result, use of this phrase can be considered insensitive and further normalizes exclusionary linguistic practices—even if unintentionally so.

It is important that people understand why they should not employ terms like “Wandering Jew” when referring to any plant variety, regardless of individual intentions. Instead of calling such plants by their perjorative assigned names, it would be far more considerate—and more accurate—to simply refer to them by their scientific name in order protect marginalized groups from continued harm and inequality.

What Is The Meaning Of The Name Wandering Jew?

Christian folklore’s Wandering Jew is a 13th-century ageless guy. According to belief, a Jewish man who mocked Jesus Christ while bearing the cross to his execution was doomed to wander the world until the Second Coming. The Wandering Jew tale became famous in writing and art across Europe.

The “Wandering Jew” plant is a hanging, soft, glabrous, annual ground-cover. Mexican-native purple heart shrub needs cover. Wandering Jew leaves are glossy, oval-shaped, dark green or black, and pointy. This plant makes a good ground cover because its moist, soft, growing roots root at soil nodes.

Unlike the Wandering Jew, the North American purple heart plant can grow in full sun. Its purple leaves and roots make it an appealing yard plant. These two plants have distinct growth needs and traits.

How long do wandering jew plants live?

Wandering Jew plants, despite their beauty and lush look, only live a few years, especially in pots. After two to three years, roaming Jew plants become lanky. Winter-hardiness distinguishes it from other hanging plants. If left alone, the plant will grow again in spring after freezing in winter.

With proper care, roaming Jew plants can thrive indoors for years. A robust roaming Jew plant needs water, air, and sun. These factors are essential to plant growth and life.

Watering should keep the dirt wet but not soaked. Before soaking, let the dirt air out. This prevents root rot in overwatered roaming Jew plants. Plants prefer 50% humidity. A dish of stones and water under the pot increases dampness around the plant.

Wandering Jew trees need strong, diffused sunshine. Direct sunshine scorches plants, while low light causes lanky growth and scant foliage. Place the plant near a north or east-facing window for strong, indirect light. Grow lights can enhance your roaming Jew plant’s light.

A roaming Jew plant can thrive for years with proper care. Don’t give up if it’s hard to care for; you’ll get a healthy, lush shrub.


I hope you get the answer on “Why Is It Called Wandering Jew Plant?” and if you want to read more such articles check below.

8 Benefits Of Wandering Jew plants (Inch plant Tradescantia)

Wandering Jew Plant Propagation in Water and Soil(Full Guide)


Wikipedia – Wandering Jew
University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension – Tradescantia zebrina
Tennessee-Kentucky Plant Atlas – Tradescantia zebrina
Missouri Botanical Garden – Tradescantia zebrina
N.C. Cooperative Extension – Tradescantia zebrina

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark , a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Check our Social media Profiles: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Tumblr

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