Thursday, December 19, 2013

Top Ten of 2013...#13 ZZ Plant

It's that time of the year. Time for all the Top Ten lists. Many writers produce them and guess what, they're utterly unapologetic subjective filler. Something to plug into the space so that the writer can take time off to finish his/her holiday errands. So here are My Top Ten (plus a few) Favorite Things of 2013. Some have been around awhile, but I generally discover things later than most. I'm going to dribble them out one day at a time, many are completely frivolous because remember: they're filler so that I can do holiday things.

More year-end frivolous filler. Top Ten Honorable Mention

My Favorite House Plant of 2013. This one tried, but it didn't make the Top Ten, but let's get real, it's only a houseplant. 

Known commonly as the Zanzibar Gem or simply the ZZ Plant after its Latin nomenclature Zamioculcas zamiifolia, this houseplant is only starting to become widespread indoors.

I have several houseplants. Nothing is more cheery in gray winter than a bit of green indoors. I got my houseplant gene from my Grandma Pearl. I guess it strokes the farmer part of me that wants something to tend and houseplants are easier than hamsters.

Native to East Africa from Kenya south to northeastern South Africa, the Zanzibar Gem requires little. (Hamsters are actually native to Syria, require lots.) The ZZ does well in low light and the only sure way to kill it is over-watering. I got my ZZ this year and I'm only just beginning to learn proper zz husbandry: how to treat it, or perhaps mistreat it. 

The ZZ can survive drought, losing all of its leaves, yet it'll bounce back to life once watered. Similar to another African native, Sansevieria trifasciata, a.k.a. mother-in-law's tongue, it can be neglected. I've had one of the latter for perhaps 20 years and we hardly speak to each other.

The one downside—and its a big'n—all parts of the Zanzibar Gem are poisonous if ingested, so it's not a good plant to have around small children or goats. Most don't keep such horned livestock indoors, but there are a few in the lonelier regions of the country that probably do. 

I'm keeping my zz away from my fajita bar and at arm's length down in the billiard room.


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