With spider plants gaining popularity as houseplants, it is no longer a surprise that care and maintenance tips for these plants have also become more abundant. As people gain more interest in these plants, however, they also have many questions about them. One of these has something to do with the safety of eating spider plants.
Are spider plants edible in the first place?
While there are some pieces of evidence showing that spider plants can be eaten, it isn’t as simple as just grabbing a few leaves and munching on them.
Read on below to learn whether or not you should or can consume spider plants.
What are Spider Plants?
Spider plants are among the more commonly documented houseplants that grow naturally wild in India, the Middle East, and Africa. The plant is grown in cool climates outdoors as an annual. Spider plants look great in containers with their grass-like foliage that sets them apart from other types of foliage.
Spider plants are quite suitable for hanging baskets with the stems hanging down. When grown outdoors, these plants require bright light. However, they can develop browning fast when exposed to full sun. These plants also make a great ground cover in warmer climates in the garden with partly shaded areas with well-draining soil.
Can You Eat Spider Plants?
The leaves of spider plants are known to be edible but only in small quantities. Spider plants are also known as a potherb in certain parts of Africa.
With the scientific name Chlorophytum comosum (Vittatum), spider plants contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. They also contain micronutrients such as copper, zinc, manganese, and iron.
The root tubers of spider plants are also great sources of potassium and sodium, not to mention that they also have protein and fat content.
Now, you might be surprised that you can actually consume this common houseplant. However, studies reveal that if you ever want to consume spider plants, you need to cook them first and eat them only in small quantities.
Most importantly, make sure you perform the UET or Universal Edibility Test first. In addition, it seems that there is more information about using the roots as food but once again, always conduct the UET first.
A 2014 study also revealed that spider plants have been endowed with nutritive values and antioxidant phytochemicals.
Common Uses of Spider Plants
Now that you know that spider plants may actually be edible, here are more common uses of these beauties:
Spider Plants as Air Purifier
The popular research of NASA on plants that purify indoor air highlighted the spider plant for a reason. The spider plant is discovered to be one of the easiest air purifying plants that can be grown. It effectively removes dangerous chemicals present in the air including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene.
NASA reports revealed that the spider plant is one of the top three types of houseplants that work well in eliminating formaldehyde, a common chemical found in homes and is generally in plastic products, manufactured wood items, leather goods, clothing, drapes, adhesives, pesticides, and more.
However, since these plants can remove harmful substances from indoor air, it would be best to avoid eating this plant, unless you know the exact toxins present in your home.
Spider Plants to Increase Humidity
Spider plants are perennials with a high transpiration rate. They can absorb water through the roots and circulate the moisture through leaves and stems. The moment the water reaches the plant’s leaves, it will evaporate into the air, thus increasing the humidity levels.
This increased level of humidity lowers the risk of some airborne diseases like flu-like symptoms, sore throat, cough, and cold. Growing some spider plants in your office or home can help keep away these diseases and improve productivity and concentration.
Aside from these helpful benefits, spider plants also look very appealing as houseplants. As mentioned earlier, you can plant them in hanging baskets or even regular pots to add a touch of greenery to your home or office. The spiderettes growing from the mother plant and dangling down the pot further enhance the plant’s natural beauty, making it look more beautiful and attractive.
Spider Plants Speed Up Patient Recovery
Based on some research studies, adding some spider plants to hospital rooms can help speed up the rate of recovery of patients that underwent surgery compared to those patients staying in rooms without this plant.
The surgical patients required less pain medication, experience less depression or anxiety, are discharged from the hospital faster, and don’t suffer from heart rate or blood pressure problems.
Spider Plants Have Ethnobotanical Uses
Spider plants were used in ethnobotany in different traditional medical systems all over the world. The tubular roots of the plant are administered for the treatment of bone fractures, burns, and bronchitis in traditional Chinese medicine.
The Nguni in South Africa also used the plants medicinally, specifically for pregnant mothers and also as a charm for the protection of both the mother and child. The roots are also found to help with bone healing and cure colds and coughs, maintain the health of the liver, is a potential prebiotic, and are anti-cancerous.
Are Spider Plants Safe for Pets?
Spider plants are excellent indoor plants that are considered safe for pets such as dogs and cats. These plants don’t give off any dangerous toxins that can be harmful to your pets. They also make a wonderful addition to the environment of your pets thanks to their ability to produce high amounts of oxygen.
But while you can put spider plants outdoors or keep them indoors, it is still best to take extra measures. Try to keep them out of your pet’s reach to ensure their safety and avoid any negative consequences on their health.
Never let your pets munch on the leaves that might pose a potential risk. Spider plants contain chemical compounds believed to be related to opium that can make your pets suffer from an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting.
The Bottom Line
While some studies reveal that spider plants may be edible, additional research is still required to ensure their safety for human consumption. For now, it is best to just enjoy them as beautiful houseplants you love to look at.