Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Classic common house plant Aspidistra aka cast iron plant

A very common and useful house plant is the Aspidistra or cast iron plant. I remember as a youngster people telling me that this plant will grow in a dark hallway of a house and indeed it does. I have owned a couple of Aspidistras over the years and even managed to keep some alive as a young man in my early twenties. That was possible because Aspidistras are very tough and could endure my lack of care. They seem to thrive on neglect and infrequent watering. The only thing they don't like is lots of sun so if you buy one don't put it in front of a window at home or it will bleach out and die. They are native to Japan and I'm fairly sure that the species that I have pictured here is Aspidistra elatior. It was previously thought that Aspidistras were pollinated by snails and slugs. We now know this isn't true and they are in fact pollinated by tiny crustaceans and amphipods. Some are also now saying that fungus gnats may be a pollinator but research is not conclusive at the present time. Another interesting fact is that the foliage of some Aspidistra plants was originally used in Japanese sushi boxes to separate the food but now imitation Aspiditra leaves are used. I would recommend this plant to anybody who wants an extremely low maintenance, tough and low light indoor house plant.

1 comment:

  1. good one Alex...didn't know it was called the cast iron plant...guess it makes sense doesn't it since not much can kill it ! yours looks nice and healthy...must be all that lack of care you are giving it !