Aspidistra elatior

Accepted name Aspidistra elatior Blume. Tijdschr. Natuurl. Gesch. Physiol. 1. 76. t. 4. (1834).
Synonyms Aspidistra lurida Hort.
Aspidistra punctata
var. albomaculata Hook., Bot. Mag. 89: t. 5386 (1863).
Distribution Japan (Osumi Islands)
Description INCOMPLETE

Rhizome: creeping, subterete, diameter 5 - 10 mm.

Leaves: solitary, to ca. 100 cm; cataphylls undescribed; petiole 5 - 35 cm, stiff; lamina typically dark green sometimes with yellowish white markings (but several leaf colour cultivars exist), oblong-lanceolate, lanceolate, or subelliptic, 20 - 45 cm long x 6 - 10 cm wide.

Scape: 0.5 - 2 cm long with 2 - 4 bracts; flowers solitary.

Perianth [Perigone]: campanulate, purplish to dark-purple, rarely pinkish; tube 1 - 1.2 cm long x 1 - 1.5 cm diameter; lobes (6 -) 8, greenish at margin, deltoid, 6 - 8 mm long x 3.5 - 4 mm wide, adaxially 4-keeled, keels purple-red, very thick, fleshy, smooth, central two up to 1.5 mm wide.

Stamens: (6 -) 8, inserted at base of perianth tube, subsessile, anthers elliptic, ca. 2 mm.

Pistil: mushroom-shaped; ca. 8 mm long, stigma peltate, orbicular, 1 - 1.3 cm in diameter, completely filling the tube, 4-lobed at margin, lobes emarginate at apex; ovary undescribed.

Fruit: undescribed.

Phenology: flowers January - April.

2n = 36

Based on FoC with personal observations.

References Tijdschrift voor Natuurlijke Geschiedenis en Physiologie. Amsterdam
Comments The illustration of Aspidistra elatior in the Flora of China is wrong.  The flower and stigma illustrated are Aspidistra sichuanensis taken from Lang, K. Y. & Zhu. Z. Y. (1984) Acta Bot. Yunnan., 6 (4): 387, fig 1. [NEED TO CHECK THIS]

"A. punctata albo-maculata" (= Aspidistra elatior) of W. J. Hooker, Curtis's botanical magazine t. 5386 is at http://www.botanicus.org/page/439018 et seq.

Aspidistra elatior was once though to be native to China although no wild plants were ever found there. In the 1980's it was shown that the plant is instead native to and abundant on a number of small island groups (Kuroshima, Suwanose and Uji islands) south of Kyushu Island, Japan. For example, A. elatior is abundant on the Uji Islands where it grows among extensive thickets of Aralia sieboldii.

In some gardening texts Aspidistra elatior is sometimes referred to as Aspidistra lurida (A. lurida Hort.) but A. lurida is a quite different species as can be seen here.


home     top     next

last updated 29/07/2008