fittonia aka mosaic or nerve plant is native to tropical rain forests in south america. these guys are naturally creeping plants however, mine appear to be reaching for the light, resulting in taller looking plants. i have two fittonia plants and they’re mesmerizing to look at. one of my fittonia albivenis plants is pictured below (please check #jmfittoniaalbivenis2 on ig for progress). i love the red veins 😻 my other fittonia plant has white veins and is pictured at the bottom of this post. updates on this plant can be found here: #jmfittoniaalbivenis.

my fittonia with red veins

history

in it’s natural habitat, this plant is harvested for medicinal purposes. the kofan tribe calls it minakoro and it is used to make tea to treat urinary pain or difficulty (schultes & raffauff, 1990). sanz-biset and colleagues (2008) conducted a study of the medicinal plants of the chazuta valley, i.e., the peruvian amazon. in chazuta, fittoni albivenis is called machakuy mantana. the plant is used as an anti-diarrhetic for children. it is also used with tabernaemontana sananho leaves to treat snake bite wounds. 

the researchers (sanz-biset et al., 2008) reported that in chazuta, medicinal plants are used within a context of a traditional practice that addresses health and illness from a holistic approach. medicinal plants are employed, along with lifestyle advice + spiritual rituals & practices 💫

did you know?

fittonia is used as a treatment for headaches. russo (1992) conducted a study of medicinal plants used to treat headaches by indigenous peoples from ecuadorian amazonian tribes. the siona-secoya call it misapu-panga and use the plant to create a concoction to relieve headache or muscle pain (vickers & plowman, 1984).

according to russo & colleagues (1996, 1997), this plant is called mamperikipini by the machiguenga & the leaves were used as a hallucinogenic in kamarampi prior to the use of psychotria viridis – supposedly it produced visions of eyeballs

care tips

  • these plants love warmth and humidity! as such, they grow happiest in terrariums or green houses – i have mine in a mini green house
  • bright, indirect light several feet from an east-facing window where it is shaded by it’s placement on a shelf
  • make sure they don’t get direct light as it will damage their leaves
  • water regularly but sparingly, just to keep the potting medium barely moist at all times
  • their roots need to be kept moist, not wet
  • i shower the leaves every time i water
  • propagate via tip cuttings with at least three or four pairs of leaves 

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