Cut-leaves of Aspidistra elatior represent an important component in floral bouquets. In Italy the leaves are grown in large quantities predominantly in the regions of Liguria and Campania. Sourching young plant rhizomes in China was an attractive economic prospect that reached an advanced stage until quality standards and import logistics proved too difficult. The discovery that these rhizomes were being stripped out of natural forest undergrowth made things worse. Similar problems of stability of variegation are also found in Monstera (right picture).
Of particular interest to the Italian Aspidistra growers was to find some clones with stable leaf variegations. One source in China can supply varieties spotted yellow-gold. The best break came from Kunming Botanical Garden (Yunnan province) that was twinned with the Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh in 1938. A director professor at this highly esteemed institution, intimated that he had a small collection of variegated-leaved Aspidistra clones that had stable striped variegation. Such variegation with light green or white striping would make an very welcome addition to the cut-foliage assortment. Kunming Botanical Garden is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. (Chinese only) Botanical Gardens Conservation International