The Aspidistra elatior has corn-like, shiny, dark green leaves that grow to 24 inches long.
minor or Aspidistra Milky Way has white spotted black-green leaves.
The Aspidistra originates from the Eastern Himalayas, Taiwan, China and Japan.
But it took until the '30s to inspire a novel, with George Orwell penning Keep The Aspidistra Flying.
A LADY contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if we would like a large aspidistra plant to display in the hall.
The aspidistra's ability to withstand draughts, pollution from all the coal fires plus their tolerance of the lack of daylight in the dimly lit hallways of the town houses stood them in good stead.
A few years ago you had more chance of finding bags of composted rocking horse droppings in your local garden centre than aspidistras, but in the last 18 months or so they have started to appear among the exotic house plants.
Aspidistras have come in on the back of the interest in antiques with large pots and stands a feature of any self respecting fair or gallery, so the plants tend to carry a premium for being trendy.
If you are one of those people with the ability to kill off even plastic flowers then the old aspidistra will present a real challenge - it is not known as the cast iron plant for nothing.