Epipremnum aureum

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Epipremnum aureum, also known as the Pothos (once classified under the genus Pothos), Silver Vine, Centipede tongavine, Devil's Ivy and Solomon Islands' Ivy, is an aroid native to southeastern Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia) and New Guinea. It is sometimes mistakenly labeled as a Philodendron in plant stores.

It is a liana growing to 20 m tall, with stems up to 4 cm diameter, climbing by means of aerial roots which hook over tree branches. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, heart-shaped, entire on juvenile plants, but irregularly pinnatifid on mature plants, up to 100 cm long and 45 cm broad (juvenile leaves much smaller, typically under 20 cm long). The flowers are produced in a spathe up to 23 cm long. This plant produces trailing stems when it climbs up trees and these take root when they reach the ground and grow along it. The leaves on these trailing stems grow up to 10cm long and are the ones normally seen on this plant when it is cultivated as a pot plant.

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Cultivation and uses

It is a popular houseplant with numerous cultivars selected for leaves with white, yellow, or light green variegation. It is often used in decorative displays in shopping centers, offices, and other public locations largely because it is a very hardy plant that requires little care and is also attractively leafy. It is also efficient at removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene[1][2] A study found that this effect became less the higher the molecular weight of the polluting substance.[3]

As a houseplant it can reach a height of two meters or more, given suitable support. For best results it requires medium indirect light; bright light is tolerated, but lengthy spells of direct sun will scorch the leaves. The plant prefers a temperature of between 17 to 30 °C (63 to 86 °F). Generally it only needs water when the soil begins to feel dry to the touch. For best results a liquid fertilizer can be added in spring, and they should be repotted every couple of years. However, this is a robust plant that can stand a very high degree of abuse. It will grow hydroponically quite readily.

The plant is listed as "toxic to cats, toxic to dogs" by the ASPCA, because of the presence of insoluble calcium oxalates. Care should be taken to ensure the plant is not consumed by house pets or children. Symptoms may include oral irritation, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.[4]

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