The Aspidistra genus (Asparagaceae) is made of up about 100 species with over 60 originating in China. Kew Gardens list 1823, as the year of the first recorded Aspidistra but the genus was named Aspidistra by John Ker Gawler in 1822.
The most popular species is Aspidistra elatior, native to the Eastern Himalayas, Taiwan, China, and Japan, and the plant we call the “cast iron plant” or “iron plant”.
The cast iron plant is one of the few plants we can say helped inspire or carry the lead in a novel.
In 1936, George Orwell wrote his novel “Keep the Aspidistra Flying.”
In World War II, “Winston Churchill authorized the purchase of a very powerful radio transmitter from the United States under the codename “Aspidistra” borrowed from the popular song ‘The Biggest Aspidistra in the World’.” [source]
The Family Of Aspidistra Species Grows
The genus has been ignored until about the 1980’s. Since then many new Aspidistra plant species have been recognized.
In March 2005, during a field trip to Shiwandashan Mountains in southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, the second author (Yan Liu) collected and brought back a sterile plant of Aspidistra for cultivation, which flowered in Guilin Botanical Garden next spring.
We went on another trip to the same locality in Shiwandashan Mountains in January 2007 and were able to collect fruiting materials of this species. Compared with other species of Aspidistra, it was recognized as an undescribed species that differs from congeners in its peculiar adnate stamens with extended and upcurved connectives.[source]
Full List Of Aspidistra Species
Below is a list of 169 Aspidistra species and varieties recognized by The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families at Kew as of September 10, 2017.
Cast-iron plants are some of the hardiest houseplants out there, making aloe vera look accident-prone. The term applies to Aspidistra elatior (ass-pi-DIS-truh ee-LAY-tee-or), its cultivars, and a few select cast
Cast iron plants (Aspidistra) are an amazing little group of plants. Consisting mainly of Aspidistra elatior (ass-pi-DIS-truh ee-LAY-tee-or) and its cultivars, cast iron plants also include cultivars of Aspidistra lurida
The Cast Iron Plant is the common name for Aspidistra elatior [ass-pi-DIS-truh] [ee-LAY-tee-or]. The Aspidistra is an old-fashioned, tough, house plant with leathery dark green leaves. Aspidistras are ideal indoor plants for cooler areas of