Consumer Qs: what’s difference in spider lily, flower and plant?

Published 6:00 pm Saturday, August 27, 2016

Question: What is the difference between a spider lily, a spider flower and a spider plant?
Answer: There are several plants with spidery common names that may confuse people. Here are a few you may encounter:
Spider flower is another name for cleome (Cleome hassleriana), a heat-tolerant and durable annual with purple, pink or white blooms. Its spideriness is due to its long stamens and pistils and widely spaced petals that also give the flower an airy quality.
Spider plant is a common name for Chlorophytum comosum, a popular houseplant for hanging baskets because it produces pendulous stems with plantlets on the end like spiderlings attached to a silk thread. It is also known as airplane plant. Its leaves may be solid green or variegated.
There are several plants called spider lilies. Perhaps the most familiar is the red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) that blooms in the fall with curved pistils and stamens that radiate out from the flower clusters like enormous false eyelashes or the legs of an enormous spider. It also goes by numerous other common names.
Numerous species of hymenocallis (Hymenocallis spp.) are also called spider lilies and other names. These amaryllis-like plants have white flowers, some of which could be comically described as looking like a combination of a daffodil and a daddy longlegs.
Q: Why do some tomatoes have green shoulders? They are ripe except for areas at the top of the tomato.
A: Some tomato varieties naturally have green shoulders when they are ripe. You can just cut the green area away when you eat them. In some varieties, too much heat and sunlight can increase the chance of these green areas developing at the top of the fruit. You can decrease the chance of this happening by covering exposed fruits with a handful of straw or making sure the plant’s foliage is covering the fruit.
While some people may consider green shoulders a flaw, many of the juiciest and best-tasting varieties naturally have green shoulders. We may be trained by the marketplace to think that uniformly ripe tomatoes are the norm or even ideal, but just because a tomato is red all over doesn’t mean it always tastes the best.
Q: How long can I leave a raw, unshelled egg out of the refrigerator before I cook it?
A: Eggs should not be left out of the refrigerator more than two hours; one hour if the air temperature is 90 degrees F. or above. After eggs are refrigerated, they need to remain in the refrigerator. A cold egg left out at room temperature can “sweat” (become wet on the outside), facilitating the growth of bacteria.
If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce ( or visit the department’s website at