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Chinese Plant Names | Family List | Liliaceae | Aspidistra

Aspidistra elatior Bl.


Description from Flora of China

Aspidistra punctata Lindley var. albomaculata Hooker; Plectogyne variegata Link.

Rhizome subterete, 5--10 mm thick. Leaves solitary, spaced; petiole 5--35 cm, stiff; leaf blade sometimes with yellowish white markings, oblong-lanceolate, lanceolate, or subelliptic, 20--45 × 6--10 cm. Scape 0.5--2 cm; bracts 2--4. Flower solitary. Perianth purplish to dark-purple, rarely pinkish, campanulate, (6--)8-lobed apically; tube 1--1.2 × 1--1.5 cm; lobes greenish at margin, deltoid, 6--8 × 3.5--4 mm, adaxially 4-keeled, keels purple-red, very thick, fleshy, smooth, central 2 up to 1.5 mm wide. Stamens (6--)8, inserted at base of perianth tube, subsessile; anthers elliptic, ca. 2 mm. Pistil ca. 8 mm; stigma peltate, orbicular, large, 1--1.3 cm in diam., 4-lobed at margin, lobes emarginate at apex. Fl. Jan--Apr. 2 n = 36*.

Aspidistra elatior was said to be of Chinese origin, but no wild plants have been found in China. Sako and Maruno (Bull. Kagoshima Univ. For. 11: 33--78. 1983) and Sako et al. (ibid. 16: 83--108. 1988) noted that the species originated from Kuroshima, Suwanose, and Uji Islands (Osumi Islands, S of Kyushu, Japan). The Uji Islands are largely covered with thickets of Ardisia sieboldii Miquel, where Aspidistra elatior grows abundantly. Kuroshima Island is largely covered with forests of Castanopsis sieboldii (Makino) Hatusima ex T. Yamazaki & Mashiba, the understory of which is occupied by A. elatior.

Widely cultivated in China [native to Japan (Osumi Islands)].


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