"If consumed, this plant can cause the mouth to burn and the sap can cause irritation to the skin."
Sirih gading scientifically in Latin is called Epipremnum pinnatum cv. ‘Aureum’ or Epipremnum aureum. However, there are many characters that differentiate the species E. pinnatum and 'Aureum', so the character 'Aureum' may be more valid in this plant. Internationally known as golden pothos, money plant or devil's ivy.
Previously, this species was classified under many names, including Pothos aureus, Rahphidophora aurea, R. pinnata, and Scindapsus aureus. The Epipremnum genus itself consists of approximately 15 species belonging to the arum family (Araceae) which are spread from Southeast Asia to the western Pacific (Pothos, Epipremmum Aureum, 2023).
The genus name 'Epipremnum' comes from the Greek 'epi' meaning above and 'premnon' meaning stem, referring to its growth habit on tree trunks (Epipremnum Aureum - Plant Finder, 2023). Meanwhile, the species name 'aureum' means golden yellow, referring to the color of the foliage (NParks | Epipremnum Aureum, 2022).
The species E. pinnatum is said to be found in areas ranging from Southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea and in northern Queensland, Australia. Meanwhile 'Aureum' is thought to originate from the Solomon Islands (Pothos, Epipremmum Aureum, 2023).
As the name suggests, this plant has the main characteristics of growth that propagates upwards through its stems with a height that can reach up to 12 meters.
The green leaves with a golden-yellow marbled pattern have a shape that resembles a heart with a smooth surface. It measures 10 cm in length when it is young and is yellow to white. When mature, the leaf size can reach up to 70 cm with deep lobes.
Golden pothos' does not flower in cultivation mainly because only the juvenile phase is grown as an ornamental plant while flowering only occurs in the adult phase. In the wild, this plant can produce a number of upright flower stalks, each of which has cream-colored petals with purple markings around the stalk (Pothos, Epipremmum Aureum, 2023).
Benefits of Golden Pothos and Its Poisonous Properties
Generally, the pothos plant is grown as an ornamental plant, planted in the ground, and then climbing up walls vertically or in hanging pots. Not only does it have aesthetic value as an ornamental plant, golden pothos also has benefits for the human environment.
A study conducted by Polutan et al. (2019) have succeeded in finding that golden potohos or E. aureum has benefits as an anti-pollutant plant. This plant is stated to be quite effective in reducing indoor air pollution, especially CO gas produced from cigarette smoke.
Not only is it able to reduce pollution caused by cigarette smoke, golden pothos is also able to absorb levels of the heavy metal lead Pb which is produced from motor vehicle gas emissions. Its ability to absorb Pb in the air is influenced by the length of exposure time (Edhi Sarwono et al., 2022).
However, golden pothos is not recommended for consumption because this plant contains the poisonous compound calcium oxalate. If consumed, this plant can cause the mouth to burn and the sap can cause irritation to the skin (Pothos, Epipremmum Aureum, 2023).