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Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

Fittonia albivenis Argyroneura Group

Fittonia albivenis [Argyroneura Group]

A thank you to apasar@Flickr for contributing today's photograph of Fittonia albivenis Argyroneura Group via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool. Much appreciated!

Fittonia albivenis is a relatively common ornamental taxon, grown especially as a houseplant for its striking foliage. The leaves inspire many common names, including mosaic-plant, nerveplant, silver fittonia, silver netleaf, silver-nerve and silver-threads. The epithet albivenis breaks down to "white-veined", while argyroneura means "silver-nerved". Fittonia, however, was named in honour of two 19th-centurty Irish botanical writers: Elizabeth and Sarah Mary Fitton. Google Books has at least one of their texts available online: Conversations on Botany, written as a textbook for children to learn about plants and the Linnaean system.

The species is native to much of western and central South America, where it is a low-growing, creeping perennial of tropical rainforest floors. Unsurprisingly then, to successfully grow it indoors requires temperatures above 12°C (55F), moderate watering with high humidity and filtered or low sunlight. Additional growing details are available via Missouri Botanical Garden: Fittonia albivenis Argyroneura Group and the Royal Horticultural Society: Fittonia albivenis Argyroneura Group. The RHS has given this Group the Award of Garden Merit (as a refresher, a horticultural group is a "collective name for groups of plants, usually cultivars within a genus that all have similar characteristics"). A second Group is also broadly available in the trade, Fittonia albivenis Verschaffeltii Group, where the leaf veins are pink or red instead of white.

8 Comments

Such a simple device for decoration, and so effective. I enjoyed seeing these as garden plantings in Hawaii.

On this California Digital Library page, you can view the entire Conversations on Botany in a choice of formats - from the left sidebar, "Read online" lets you do just that. I'm finding it a catchy little book since I know nothing about how plants are organized. Should I be reading something more modern, or are the first few chapters still applicable today?

This is one of those plants that I just can't seem to keep alive. Will go look at those links now :)

I find cuttings root extremely easily in starter mix and kept damp in a covered dish A rooted cutting seems very happy growing with a fern in a covered terrarium - from reading in your piece how it grows naturally, I now see why.
Thank you for all the information.

We have one that we picked up at a local garden center. It took me awhile to even learn what it was - there was no tag.

It's been a trooper - handling the blistering hot summer here as well as cold nights before we took it inside for the winter. We had 4 days of no power last week and the house went down into the low 40s at night and none of our houseplants complained.

I am thinking of putting together a little terrarium for this and a few other miniatures.

This takes me back to the 70's, working in a retail garden center. Fittonia was a standard terrarium plant and fared pretty well as a house plant as long as it did not dry out too much. One year, sand painting became a fad and we were stuffing Fittonia in terraria like they were going out of style. The fad did, not Fittonia, happily. All those silly scenes in sand! New cultivars and colors came along eventually but it was a basic house plant for most greenhouses and florists for many years.

I prefer both the interface and the version of the book available at the Biodiversity Heritage Library (I have spent most of the last two weeks in that virtual library):

http://biodiversitylibrary.org/item/66130

a popular plant in the garden centers here in florida
i like the idea of growing this one under glass
for small room dwellers would be nice on a small table

good sunday to you all

I love this family. that is so spectacular and beautiful.

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