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Aspidistra elatior Cast Iron Plant1


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Aspidistra elatior originates from east Asia and is more commonly known by its common name Cast-Iron Plant. It has earn't this name as it is almost impossible to kill it and it will grow in the most smokiest dingiest conditions. Very few pests or diseases will trouble it; though occasionally it can be killed by a very disfiguring leaf spot disease. Aphids can also infest the new growth. Over-watering can cause blackening of the leaves and dry air will cause the leaf margins to wither and brown.
Aspidistra is a popular foliage plant and is a genus of the herbaceous "Ruscaseae" family. It can be grown as a landscape plant in shaded areas away from direct sunlight. I have grown mine outside my back door in a shaded protected area fro many years. It can also be grown as a houseplant. It was most popular in late Victorian Britain, where it was used as a parlour plant. It was so commonplace that it became a symbol of middle class values.
During World war II The name Aspidistra was used for many deception tactics. Its name was given to several transmitters and Gracie Fields even had a hit with the song "The Biggest Aspidistra in the World".
Given good growing conditions it's leaves can grow to about 60cm x 20cm, with its flowers borne at soil level where it is pollinated by snails and slugs. The fruits are large berries near to the base of the crown.
It's leaves are ideal for contemporary flower bouquets and arrangements and in Japan it was used as a food separator.
There are several cultivars of the common Aspidistra elatior even a variegated one with white stripes running down its parallel veins.
Aspidistra elatior is said to have medicinal attributes, and for centuries has been used in Chinese medicines for reducing fever, stopping bleeding and also to strengthen bones and muscles.

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