[DWJ] elusive houseplant -- quest

estairm at yahoo.com estairm at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 27 00:24:28 EDT 2009

Greetings to all.

I received the following message on another list, with the intriguing subject of Elusive Houseplant.  I can't help this person, but thought that the intelligent members of this list, with their diverse and arcane knowledges, might be the perfect place to ask the question.  All useful answers will be forwarded on to the asker.


I need the help of a botanist, either amateur or professional, or someone who
knows one. Here is the story. 


father is now 90 and, baruch hashem,
in excellent health. But when he was in his fifties, he just barely survived a
dangerous cancer. What is more, a relative and an unrelated public figure both
died of the same type of cancer while he was fighting it. So morale was low.  


friend bought him a small potted houseplant. None of us remember the species
anymore. It came with a note saying "This is a (whatever…) plant. With
proper care, it can live 50 years. I'm sure I am putting it in good hands".
My parents both claim this message made a huge difference to them. The plant
only lived about 30 years because of human error, but it certainly was loved
and fussed over during that time. It was not a tree. It was a small potted


a close relative, a man in his early thirties with four children ranging in age
from 9 to newborn, is ill with cancer and fighting for his life. I want to give
the same gift, but I don't know the plant's name and the flower shop owners
insist that only trees live that long. The family lives in a multistory
building and cannot keep a tree. 


need the name of a plant that can live for decades indoors in a small pot and
that is not extremely common, since there has to be a certain bit of mystique
about it. If it meets those qualifications, it doesn't really matter whether or
not it's the same one my father got.  


anyone help me with this?


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