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Aspidistra elatior - Blume.                
                 
Common Name Aspidistra, Cast Iron Plant
Family Convallariaceae
Synonyms A. lurida. A. punctata.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats An understory plant, found growing in forests beneath Ardisia crenata and Castanopsis sieboldii[266].
Range E. Asia - Japan - Kuroshima, Suwanose, and Uji Islands.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade

Summary       
Bloom Color: Brown, Purple. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late winter. Form: Rounded.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Aspidistra elatior is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jan to April. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Slugs, snails.

USDA hardiness zone : 7-11


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Aspidistra elatior Aspidistra, Cast Iron Plant


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:KENPEI
Aspidistra elatior Aspidistra, Cast Iron Plant
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aspidistra_elatior.png
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover;
Edible Uses                                         
None known
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Febrifuge;  Styptic;  Tonic.

The roots, stems and leaves are febrifuge, styptic and tonic. Strengthens bones and muscles[147]. A decoction of the root, stems or leaves is used in the treatment of abdominal cramps, amenorrhoea, diarrhoea, myalgia, traumatic injuries and urinary stones[147, 218].
Other Uses
Aspidistras can be grown as a ground cover in a shady position[188].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Ground cover, Massing, Specimen, Woodland garden. Prefers a shady position in a rich well-drained soil[200]. Tolerates poor soils and drought[200]. Almost hardy in Britain[1], plants can withstand temperatures down to about -15°c if they are well sited[200]. A plant growing under shrubs in Worcestershire has survived in the garden for over 30 years[233]. This plant used to be commonly grown as a house plant, it tolerates considerable neglect[200]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least their first winter in the greenhouse. Plant them out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Division as the plant comes into growth in the spring[200]. Suckers. Best removed in the autumn and grown on in the greenhouse for the first winter.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Blume.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
58200266
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[147]? A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
[188]Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
[266] Flora of China
On-line version of the Flora - an excellent resource giving basic info on habitat and some uses.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
ann andrews Tue Oct 10 2006
It would have been nice to see a few different varieties
Elizabeth H.
Debbie King Mon Dec 11 2006
Where can I buy one? Debbie King
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future. Sun Dec 17 2006
For suppliers in Britain, visit the Plant Finder at http://www.rhs.org.uk/RHSPlantFinder/plantfinder.asp.
Elizabeth H.
drc Wed Jul 9 2008
Aspidistra is now placed in the Ruscaceae not Convallariaceae. Aspidistra lurida Ker-Gawl is not a synonym of A. elatior, it is a distict species. Aspidistra lurida Hort. is a synonym of A. elatior. The native range of A. elatior is Japan only; specifically the island groups mentioned above. I agree A. elatior is inedible but how can it have a rating of 0 on a scale of 1-5? 1 is inedible but 0 is really inedible? Shades of Spinal Tap! Saying that A. elatior is hardy to (USDA) zone 7 implies it tolerates an annual average minimum temperature of -17.7C to -12.3C. If this were true it would be hardy throughout the UK (including the Scottish Highlands) and its reputed survival in a Worcestershire garden for over 30 years would be completely unexceptional. In other words it is nonsense to say that it is hardy to (USDA) zone 7. It is hardy in zone 8 with protection. How can A. elatior "prefer" every known soil type? It prefers a fertile, well drained loamy soil a little on the alkaline side but will tolerate other soils. It does not "require" dry or moist soils. It prefers moist soils but is drought tolerant. It is a myth that slugs and snails pollinate A. elatior. Tiny terrestrial arthropods called collembolans are responsible. Seed would a feasible method of propagating Aspidistra elatior but it is not available comercially and plants very rarely fruit in cultivation so the information provided is irrelevant. Plants are propagated by rhizome division in the spring. The comment about "suckers" (not produced by Aspidistra) is wrong and irrelevant.
Elizabeth H.
Wed Oct 21 2009
Aspidistra elatior I have a plant that is over 56 years old!
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