Zanzibar Gem in Exile

There’s a Zamioculcus zamifolia or Zanzibar gem in a sunless corner of my house. It is the only plant that can survive this space and I am amazed at the resilience of this glossy perennial. It is drought tolerant, so can be left to its own devices while on a vacation. Even if you forget to water it, it won’t hold it against you.


Zanzibar Gem ~ a ‘love, but don’t touch’ plant
The Sylvan ended thus as pillars of authored dead leaves in sunless corners / where a writers block stamped, nay, squiggled into a cataplectic scrawl in leafy notebooks / All this, while  his leathery leaves are an irritant breath / Zanzibar Gem / charming , beautiful, stoic, offering lessons in  resilience in emerald leather  / rhizomatous longings stirring for spring yet urging forbearance / He has digits reaching for shadows on the wall / even as he assimilates an ideological  toxicity in indoor breath / A Ficus lyrata could help here, to share a generous life force at night / but the melancholic fiddle leaf suffers sun better than a loveless corner / So here, exiled in the eternity of shade are leaves of leather and buried longings / swallowing pessimism / stoic shoots at war with love //

No offence to Carolus Linnaeus and his system of botanical nomenclature, but sometimes, on a whim, I classify my plants as masculine or feminine. It’s a huge disservice to them and leads me to contradict myself in ways I wish not to imagine. I do admire the survival instincts of this plant with it’s pinnate glossy leaves, each that can last upto six months, a succulent rhizome that can survive drought but in no way is it the same as my sweet Ficus Lyrata which produces so much oxygen that it has extra to spare at night, making it a great addition even to a bedroom. Zanzibar gem, a tropical herbaceous perennial, is like a plant version of a Saturnine school of thought that will survive in the trenchant realism of Schopenhauer in a sunless place. For any of you having issues with shaded spots in your home, this plant comes with the highest recommendations.

Zamioculcus reminds me of how to be a mean survivor, a bit lifeless, self serving, holding onto water for dear life, cleansing the air of pollutants like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) from contaminated indoor air, making the toxic its own. It inspires me to strength actually. I admire its stoic refusal to surrender to the elements but one cannot caress its leaves and bury ones face in its shoots, for like other members of the family Araceae, it carries calcium oxalate crystals that can be a skin irritant, so it’s best left alone in a corner.

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