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Origins of Peace Lilies

By Ann Wolters

The peace lily’s Latin name is Spathiphyllum. It is a lily known for its hardy nature and its lovely white flowers. The peace lily's most common cultivar is the Clevelandii, which has glossy leaves that grow to about 12 inches long by 2 inches wide.

Geographical Origin

Peace lilies are actually a tribe of flowers that are a part of the philodendron family. They are tropical plants that originated in Central America and the northern part of South America.

Origin of Cultivated Peace Lily

The peace lily was probably among the houseplants the Victorians domesticated in the mid to late 1800s.

Name Origin

The white flowers on the Spathiphyllum, which may have called to mind the white flag of truce, are said to have inspired this plant’s common name, peace lily.

Origin of New Selections

German plant breeders have recently developed over a dozen new varieties of peace lily. These new selections, which are “more free flowering hybrids” according to the University of Arkansas, may overtake the Clevelandii in popularity.

Origin of Flowering Problems

If a peace lily is not flowering, it may need more light. Move the plant closer to a window, but keep it out of direct sunlight.


About the Author


Ann Wolters has been a writer, consultant and writing coach since 2008. Her work has appeared in "The Saint Paul Almanac" and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a Master of Arts in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota.