Is It Really a Spider Plant? Or a Bichetii Grass?

Have you ever bought a Spider Plant (aka Airplane Plant, botanical name: Chlorophytum comosum) that just never grows “baby spiders”, or runners, no matter how well you take care of it?  Instead of questioning your method of watering or  fertilizing your Spider Plant, may be first of all, you should examine your plant and check whether or not it really is a Spider Plant!  Because instead of a Spider Plant, it could be a Bichetii Grass.

Spider Plant or Bichetii Grass

Bichetii Grass (aka False Lily Turf,  Siam Lily,  botanical name:  Chlorophytum bichetii) is in the same genus as Spider Plant, a very common variegated form of Chlorophytum laxum.   Like Spider Plant, Bichetii Grass has green, long slender leaves with tapering tips and ivory-white band down the center or the outer margin of the leaf.  And just like Spider Plant, Bichetii Grass has flashy roots and bloom tiny, unnoticeable six-petaled white flowers.

Spider Plant or Bichetii Grass Spider Plant or Bichetii Grass

While the “baby spider” or offset, if you prefer the horticultural term, is the easiest way to tell apart a Spider Plant from a Bichetii Grass, we can also get some clues from the leaves of the plants.  Compare to the leaves of Spider Plant, those of Bichetii Grass are thinner, with inconspicious midvein.

As you can imagine, the similar looks of Bichetii Grass and Spider Plant have caused lots of confusion.  And it could be even more confusing when we identify the plants with common names.  For examples, sometimes we find Bichetii Grass called as Variegated Spider Plant, or Dwarf Spider Plant.   This is just another perfect example of why do we use botanical names, when the common names can be very misleading.

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