Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Down another rabbit hole

My spider plants are blooming again.

Spider plant flower, under the microscope, low power.

The spider plant is also known as airplane plant, St. Bernard's lily, ribbon plant, and hen and chickens (although the plant I know as hen and chickens is a common succulent; others also use the name). I  looked up the name in Spanish: it's also known as malamadre, meaning "bad mother"; sometimes I wonder how these names got started.

View with ambient light.

I like this one.

From Wikipedia, I learned:
Spider plants have also been shown to reduce indoor air pollution in the form of formaldehyde, and approximately 70 plants would neutralize the formaldehyde released by materials in a representative (ca. 167 m2 [1,800 sq ft]) energy-efficient house, assuming each plant occupies a 3.8 L (0.84 imp gal; 1.0 US gal) pot.
I had to do the math. I'm now in a tiny apartment, 362 sq. ft., a fifth of the size in the Wikipedia article. So, if I had formaldehyde in the house, I would need 14 big plants to fix the problem. Where would I put them? There'd be no room for me.

I'm lucky I probably have no more than a trace of formaldehyde: I don't smoke, don't burn anything other than an occasional candle. Any wood furnishings are solid wood, either vintage or antique. Besides, I always keep a window open, even when it's snowing. I'm good.

So my three small spider plants are plenty. And they make pretty flowers, too.


Mis plantas araña están en flor otra vez.

Las fotos fueron tomadas bajo el microscopio, a baja intensidad.

Esta planta goza de varios nombres: planta araña, cinta, lazo de amor, malamadre. Se me hace difícil imaginar de donde sacó este último nombre. En inglés tambien se conoce como planta avión, gallina con pollitos, debido a su forma de crecer, con las flores y nuevas plantitas colgadas de tallos largos alrededor de la planta madre.

En Wikipedia, descubrí que esta planta es útil para reducir el formol en el aire dentro de las casas. Según los cálculos que da Wikipedia, se necesitan 70 plantas grandes para neutralizar el formol en una casa de 167 metros cuadrados.

Tuve que hacer unos cálculos para mi casa. Vivo ahora en un departamentito de 33,6 m2., así que si tuviera problema con el formol, necesitaría catroce plantas grandes para reducir el problema. ¿Y en dónde las colocaría? No ne dejarían lugar para vivir.

Por suerte, probablemente no tengo más de una concentración mínima de formol, ya que ni fumo, ni quemo gas ni leña, solamente una que otra velita de vez en cuando. Y los muebles de madera que tengo son todos antiguos o por lo menos retro.  Y siempre, aún en invierno, aún si está nevando, mantengo una ventana abierta.

Con las tres plantitas araña que tengo, estoy más que contenta. Y me gustan las flores.


  1. For my part, I'm used to "hen and chickens" as the name of a fern that produces little plantlets at the notches of the leaves. Is the succulent you refer to one that does the same? If so, I'm familiar with that under the name of "mother of millions".

    1. Hi, Christopher! The succulent I know as "hen and chickens" is Echeveria elegans. On Google I find the fern Asplenium bulbiferum, from NZ; is this the one you mean?

    2. That's the one. Mother of millions, on the other hand, is Kalanchoe.


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