Aspidistra: the plant resistant to everything

Originally from South and South East Asia, aspidistra is an evergreen plant that grows in the undergrowth of rainforests. It has large leaves that start from the rough texture, reaching about 70 cm in length and whose color varies in different shades of green, and in some species there are lighter longitudinal streaks. The flowers are small and not flashy, grow at the base of the plant, rarely flower if kept in the house. It is commonly and historically used as an ornamental plant.

A research conducted in 2003 by the South China Institute of Botany and the Chinese Academy of Sciences entitled “Aspidistra guangxiensis (Convallariaceae), New Species from China” reports that 60 different species of Aspidistra grow spontaneously distributed between China, India, Japan, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, one of which is the subject of a broad description of this publication. In the Guangxi region of China there is the highest spread of endemic species.


The aspidistra, as mentioned above, lives and spontaneously reproduces in the undergrowth, therefore needs little light, which makes it perfect as a flat ornamental plant even at elevated latitudes. The great diffusion throughout Southeast Asia, the variety of altitudes to which it grows and the diversity of its environments, also suggests a great adaptability. It is a plant that needs very little care, it does not need any particular acidity of the soil even if it must be fertile and well drained. It can be cultivated indoors either in pots or in open ground.

The temperatures at which it can be exposed range from -5 to + 40 ° C, even though it fears long-lasting high-intensity frosts. It fears direct sunlight that could burn its leaves. If cultivated in the garden, prefer shady areas sheltered from the wind. If grown in an apartment does not need much light, it must still be kept close to a window and in well-ventilated areas. Watering does not require special care: in the spring and summer it has to be wet every 2/3 days, during the winter only wet it when the soil is completely dry.


At the end of the nineteenth century in Victorian England the aspidistra was very popular and was the symbol of the respectability of the British media bourgeoisie. It was called “cast-iron plant” or “cast iron plant” to indicate the durability and great resistance of this ornamental plant.

In 1938, George Orwell reported this habit in the novel “Keep the aspidistra flying” where in the English houses was widespread imported from Indian colonies as a status symbol.

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