New Latin, irregular from Greek aspid-, aspis shield
First Known Use: 1822
Any plant of the genus Aspidistra (lily family), native to eastern Asia and known for ornamental foliage. The only cultivated species is a houseplant commonly known as cast-iron plant (A. elatior, or A. lurida), which has long, stiff, pointed evergreen leaves that are capable of withstanding temperature extremes, dust, smoke, and other harsh conditions. The solitary, bell-shaped flowers, which are usually lilac in colour but sometimes brown or green, are borne at the base of the plant. The fruits are small berries.