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Dieffenbachia AKA Galatea / Leopard Lily or King of Plants

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2173
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 2:00 pm    Post subject: Dieffenbachia AKA Galatea / Leopard Lily or King of Plants Reply with quote

Photo / pic / image of
Dieffenbachia maculata.


Dieffenbachia facts and information.

Dieffenbachia is a genus of tropical plants in the Family Araceae noted for their patterned leaves.
Members of this genus are popular as houseplants because of their tolerance to shade.
The Dieffenbachia is often refered to as the "King of Plants".

The cells of the dieffenbachia plant contain needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals called raphides.
If a leaf is chewed, these crystals cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat; swelling can occur along with a temporary inability to speak, and from this effect the plants are commonly called dumb cane (other names include Galatea and Leopard Lily).
Chewing could result in death if swelling of the throat blocks the airway.
Slaves were sometimes punished by having dieffenbachia put into their mouths.
Young children (at the age where they regularly put things into their mouths) are at risk of suffocation and death if they eat or chew on dieffenbachia leaves. Some cats eat houseplants and flowers; they are similarly at risk.

Favorable conditions
The Dieffenbachia needs to be kept indoors during the year in all locations within Ireland, and can only be safely planted outside in true tropical climates (such as Hawaii).
If the temperature were to drop below 5˚C or about 40˚F, the plant could be at risk of death.
The plant needs some amount of light but will be fine in a window with filtered sunlight.
A growing light is also acceptable in regions with little sunlight.
The plant has a relatively aggressive root system, so repotting may be a frequent task.
When the plant is brought home from the nursery, it will likely need repotting. The plant needs moderately moist soil.
The soil should be fertilized with either regular liquid fertilizing or fertilizer pellets or spikes.
If you see a leaf which looks like it has rolled up, you are seeing the plant setting new leafs.
This is a good sign that the plant is healthy and thriving.
Yellowing leaves are a sign of poor conditions, such as low levels of nutrients.
However, some leaf yellowing and leaf drop is normal in most plants.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Dieffenbachia

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