Every time you search for spider plants the search engines always come up with no shortage of links that tell us how to care for them. Now, put spider plants edible into a search engine and see what comes up! Yes – EdibleWildFood.com.
Just about every houseplant has wild origins, in fact, golden pothos grows wild in southern Florida. Interestingly, this plant has medicinal qualities but whether it is edible or not I am not sure nor do I advocate trying to eat it. I merely mention this because many people don’t think to research if the houseplants in their home serve any benefit to us other than helping to cleanse the air we breathe.
The spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum, is one of the more commonly recognized houseplants that grows naturally in the wild in Africa, the Middle East and India. In fact, this plant can be grown outdoors as an annual in cool climates. Spider plants are a good addition to containers with its grass-like foliage that makes a nice contrast to other foliage types. It is quite well suited to a hanging basket, where the stems can hang down. Outdoors they need bright light but can develop browning rather quickly if grown in full sun. In warmer climates, they make a nice ground cover in partly shaded areas in the garden that have well drained soil.
Spider Plant as Food
The leaves are known to be edible in small quantities. In some parts of Africa this is known as a potherb. According to the University of Florida, Chlorophytum comosum (Vittatum) contains phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Micronutrients include copper, iron, manganese and zinc. Chlorophytum comosum root tubers are a good source of sodium and potassium and they also contain fat and protein. Who would have thought that such a common houseplant can be consumed? From all the research I have done, all I can find is that if the leaves are consumed they should be cooked and consumed in small quantities. However, be sure to do the Universal Edibility Test (UET) first! There is by far more information on the roots being used as food, but again, do that UET first!
According to a study published in 2014, Chlorophytum comosum plants are endowed with antioxidant phytochemicals and nutritive values.
Spider Plant as an Air Purifier
The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) was highlighted by NASA‘s famous research on indoor air-purifying plants. Now, because it can clean indoor air from dangerous toxic substances such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene I would avoid this plant as food unless you know what toxins are in your home. If you are not sure what toxins may exist in your home be sure to check out this link.
In ethnobotany, this plant was used in various traditional medical systems around the world. In Chinese traditional medicine, the tubular roots are given for the treatment of bronchitis, burns, and for bone fractures.
The plants have been used medicinally by the Nguni (in South Africa), especially for pregnant mothers and as a charm to protect the mother and child. According to Health Benefits Times, the roots help to keep the liver healthy, cure coughs and colds, is anti-cancerous, helps with bone healing and is a potential prebiotic.
At the time of writing this blog, my website has 160 edible wild plants on it, not including mushrooms, trees, aquaic plants or flowers. Now, the spider plant has made its way onto the website because it grows wild in many countries. It is well worth researching this plant further, not to mention other common houseplants. Who knows, we may have more nutrition growing right in front of us and don’t even know it – yet!