cast-iron plant


  1. any of several plants belonging to the genus Aspidistra, of the lily family, native to eastern Asia, especially A. eliator, having large evergreen leaves often striped with white, and grown as a houseplant.

Origin of aspidistra

1815–25; < New Latin, equivalent to aspid- (< Greek: stem of aspís shield) + -istra, extracted from Tupistra genus of liliaceous plants < Greek typís mallet + Latin -tra plural of -trum noun suffix denoting instrument
Also called barroom plant, cast-iron plant, iron plant. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for cast-iron plant


  1. any Asian plant of the liliaceous genus Aspidistra, esp A. lurida, a popular house plant with long tough evergreen leaves and purplish flowers borne on the ground

Word Origin for aspidistra

C19: from New Latin, from Greek aspis shield, on the model of Tupistra genus of liliaceous plants
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012