Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
4 ratings

Monday - February 25, 2008

From: Rochester, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of plant that looks like a spider plant
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Okay Mr. Smarty Pants, I have an identification for you. I have no pictures, but I've been staring at this plant for weeks trying to figure out what it is. I got it as a cutting from a friend who got it as a cutting from a friend and so on. It grows very similarly to a spider plant. Offshoots hanging down, but growing up. The leaves are wider and more uniformly colored than a spider plant as well. Overall has a more "lush" look. In the two years I've been seeing my friend's, I've never seen a flower of any sort on it. Seems to do fine in moderate lighting, with weekly waterings. In my new little baby cuttings, the very edges of the leaves are a slightly reddish purple. Not much info, but any ideas?

ANSWER:

First, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's focus and expertise are with plants native to North America. Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are native to South Africa and your plant that looks like a spider plant is probably not native to North America. Since it probably isn't native we aren't going to be able to tell you much about it, but we can point you in the right direction to find out about it yourself. Since there are close to 200 species of spider plants in the Genus Chlorophytum, yours could be one of those other species. However, since Chlorophytum comosum is the most common species, you probably have one of its many varieties. If you scroll down on the Glasshouse Works page, you can see several different varieties of C. comosum. Look especially at C. comosum 'Mandianum'. You can also search for more varieties by Googling on the scientific name of the plant. If none of these looks like your plant, perhaps you or your friend could take a photo of her more mature plant and send it to us to identify. You can find instructions for submitting photos for identification on the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page under "Plant Identification".

By the way, purple leaf edges can be caused by environmental or nutritional conditions and are not necessarily normal for your plant and, thus, not an identification feature.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Looking for pink star grass (Rhodohypoxis milloides)
June 23, 2008 - I am looking for a wildflower/plant called Pink Star Grass (common name). I am not sure what the proper name is. Can you help me with this? I would like information on it, and also would like to pu...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
April 01, 2009 - I have small shiny red berries growing on a tropical appearing shrub with green and marled yellow leaves. The leaves have widely serrated edges. The berries have a large seed inside and very little fl...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with small lilac flowers in Laredo
May 14, 2013 - Need help identifying the following: small lilac flowers in a cluster with seed pods, unpleasant scent which can be up to 3 feet tall ..wild flower or weed? am interested if it attracts hummingbirds...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 24, 2009 - It is a small, thin vine growing in the grass in the shadier parts of the lawn. Every 3-4 inches it has two thin stems about three inches long sprouting from almost exactly the same place on the vine...
view the full question and answer

Drummonds wild onion growing along creek in St. Edwards Park
April 17, 2006 - I live near St Edwards Park in Austin and was wondering what the name of the onion is that grows along the creek. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.