Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

QUERY: Peace lily unlucky?

Posted on by royvickery |

2014-08-18 16.37.46Tessa Rogers asks, ‘Are peace lilies unlucky in the house?’

Comment:  There are no records in Plant-lore Archive of peace lilies (Spathiphyllum spp.) being considered unlucky as house-plants.  However, the related altar (or arum) lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) is widely considered to be so, possibly because in some parts of the world it is an important funeral flower.  Altar lilies look very similar to peace lilies, but are much more robust and fleshy, possibly the belief that they are unlucky has extended to the peace lilies.  Peace lilies are mildly toxic to humans, but more toxic to cats and dogs, so perhaps that’s why people are hesitant about their use as house-plants [RV].

Note added 23 January 2019:  In recent weeks newspapers have again been recommending peace lilies to improve indoor air quality.  Thus the London Evening Standard of 23 January 2019, reported that according to NASA research in 1989: ‘the peace lily … proved one of the best [houseplants], mopping up environmental contaminants benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene’.

Image:  Malaga, Andalucia, Spain; August 2014.

Updated 25 January 2019.

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