Iron Plant – Aspidistra elatior

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Iron Plant – Aspidistra elatior

Common Name: Cast-Iron Plant, Iron Plant

Botanical Name: Aspidistra elatior, as-pi-DIS-tra e-LAY-tee-or

Decorative Life: Many months to years.


Family Roots:
  • Member of the Liliaceae (lily family).
  • Native to China.
  • Relatives include asparagus, lily-of-the-valley, daylily and hyacinth.
  • Classed as a monocotyledon, leaves mostly parallel veined.
  • Leaves (mostly green) sword-shaped, arching, to 30 inches long and 4 inches wide, on stalks forming clumps. ‘Variegata’ leaves have white stripes.
Storage Specifics:

Chill sensitive, store above 55F.

  • Aspidistra: Greek for small round shields in reference to the shape of the flower’s stigma (female part of flowers where pollen lands and germinates).
  • The common name cast-iron plant comes from its ability to withstand difficult growing conditions. It therefore makes a good interior plant.
  • The specific epithet name elatior means taller.
  • Will survive in minimal light, a good choice for that dark corner. Will generally do well in light levels at least bright enough to read a newspaper in comfort but more light would be better.
  • With over 3000 species, the lily family includes many medicinal and food species in addition to ornamental species.