Name in Latin: Asparagaceae
Name in English: asparagus family
Origin: South africa
Growth Habit: herbaceous perrenial
Flower: small white flowers
Blooming Period: ...
Leaf: Leaves with long arching blades to 24 inches long and 1 inch wide, green. The common variegated leaf forms are marked with white ('Variegatum' and 'Vittatum') or yellow ('Mandaianum') bands.
house plants best used in hanging baskets
Care and Handling
Soil: potting mix
Amount of water: moderate
Special handling: • This species is reportedly susceptible to fluoride injury as manifested by leaf tip burn. In fact, many authors state this is a major problem. However, one researcher (Matkin, 1972) was unable to document fluoride injury even when tissue fluoride levels were high. • Tolerates a lot of neglect but just keeps on going. Excessive rhizome (white to brown colored underground storage structures) growth may necessitate repotting. • The specific epithet name of "comosum" means long hair, probably in reference to the long leafless stems extending out with small plants forming at the ends. In the wild, these plantlets can root when they touch the ground and thereby help propagate themselves. • Chlorophytum: Greek for green in reference to the foliage. Besides having foliage with yellow bands, 'Mandaianum' is smaller in size compared to the species. • With over 3000 species, the lily family includes many medicinal and food species in addition to ornamental species. • The basic green foliage type generally does better under home environments than the variegated one with white and green leaves. The reason is believed to be simple: more chlorophyll (green pigment) means more photosynthesis (food production) under low light environments. • Will generally grow well in light levels bright enough to read a newspaper in comfort.
Recent Findings: Giese et al. (1994) showed that cell cultures of this species could detoxify formaldehyde and turn this dangerous chemical into common plant compounds such as sugars, organic and amino acids. On a more useful note and as summarized by Brown (1988) and by Wolverton et al. (numerous years), this is one of many foliage and flowering plant species that can remove air pollutants such as formaldehyde and/or benzene often found in cigarette smoke from interior environments. Indeed, a breath of fresh air awaits custodians of spider plants!