Leopard Lily Overview
Dieffenbachia is a genus containing about 30 species of evergreen perennial from the Araceae family. Many cultivars are derived from D. seguine (which includes D. maculata). These plants are commonly grown as houseplants for their attractive, broad leaves, as well as their tolerance to shade. When lower leaves are shed, a scar is often left on the cane-like stems. The flowerhead consists of a creamy-white spathe, borne intermittently throughout the year. The genus was named by Heinrich Wilhelm Schott, director of the Botanical Gardens in Vienna, to honour his head gardener Joseph Dieffenbach (1796–1863). The common name Dumb Cane refers to the plant's poisoning effect which, if consumed, causes a temporary inability to speak. It is reported to have been given to slaves as a form of punishment. All parts are poisonous by ingestion, and sap may cause skin irritation.