27 July, 2012

Mother-in-law's tongue




Mother-in-law's tongue is the very mean nick-name for this common plant, otherwise known as 'Snake's tongue'. A very hardy succulent, I think it makes an attractive live fence. Known as NaagataaLi in Kannada, the sap from the 'tongue' is supposed to be a cure for ear ailments.



In addition to the one above, I have two other variations in my collection. This is 'Mother-in-law's tongue' with a dash of colour.... my favourite.
The 'tongue' in this type usually takes a twist or two and has a nice spiral shape.


And, kyonki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi, this dwarf variety is the Mother-in-law's tongue when she was daughter-in-law ;)


All the three above have their origins in my mother's garden. She had a huge collection of succulents.....

Most gardening websites root for the snake's tongue as indoor plant for its air purifying properties. They advice against over watering. But, you know, some years ago, I had accidentally separated a 'tongue'. I had kept it in water in a vase. Over time, it has grown roots and more 'tongues'. This is how it looks now ---



    Ah! I can now be accused of holding the mother-in-law's tongue!
    (Strictly tongue-in-cheek statement, that one!)

     Actually, instead of offending mothers-in-law & snakes, we should be calling it by the unimaginative 'green tongue'.  But, there's a hitch here. I have seen a variety where the 'tongues' are a beautiful shade of purple-green. The tip is very sharp... 'blade tongue', perhaps? 'Sword plant' because it looks like a sword???

Anyway, a tough, hardy plant that can adapt itself to suit any condition....whatever the name!

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