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PAID (Est $37) Hattie Wood Sansevieria: The plant from 'Woman with Plants' and Probably 'American Gothic'

Dec 6, 2014
Newark, CA
Starting bid $5, Shipping $12.50 or a little less close to California. I'm a little wary of shipping them first class because they are young plants. The pots are too big for a small Flat Rate box.

This Sansevieria is probably my most ordinary plant, but one of my favorites because of the story behind it.

I described the plant in more detail in this post:

Briefly, it's a plant that has been passed on over the last more than 90 years from the plant depicted in this painting, 'Woman with Plants'. The woman holding her Sansevieria is Hattie Wood, the mother of the artist Grant Wood:

Grant_Wood_-_Woman_with_Plants copy.jpg

Amazingly, one "lineage" of people owning the plant has been preserved. This is from a book written by Larry Rettig of the University of Iowa. Note that he is the end of the list of people owning the plant:

Larry Rettig's Sansevieria lineage.png

Larry gave a plant he propagated to me, as a thank you for giving him Impatiens namchabarwensis: See two other auctions for seedlings of the Blue Impatiens. I thought Larry's gift was amazingly cool.

I later found out that a Sansevieria also appears in a painting done a year later by Grant Wood. Apparently the story is that he wanted his mother in the painting, not his sister. So he dressed his sister like his mother in 'Woman with Plants', and included the Sansevieria (a Beefstake Begonia also appears in both paintings).

You probably recognize this second painting, arguably the most famous American Painting. I've seen two new parodies of this in the last week alone.

'American Gothic', with the Sansevieria and Begonia zoomed in:


I asked Grant Wood's biographer (Tripp Evans) if it was the same Sansevieria in both paintings. He thought it probably was, but that we'd never know for sure. He also owns one of the descendents, and describes it as "much treasured" in the book's acknowledgements.

Regardless of whether it's for sure the exact plant in both paintings, it's an additional element that makes the plant even more cool.

I propagate the plant reasonably often. The ones I have right now are still small. I was going to have one very small and one tiny sized plant for the auction, but I decided to dig up a third one to show the roots. These are tiny plants! The pair are in a 2 1/2 inch pot, the third one (whose roots I show) is in a 3 oz cup.

3 potted Hattie Wood Plants for TF:NASC.jpg

Medium sized TF NASC Hattie Wood plant.jpg

The auction is for all 3 plants, hopefully enough for a backup and a gift for a friend, or maybe two friends. These are very young, tiny plants, just out of leaf propagation, but this is a pretty resilient species. In fact, one interpretation I've seen of the reason Hattie Wood is holding a Sansevieria is that Grant Wood wanted to display his mother's resilience.

Perhaps this could be a nice late Mother's Day gift?

This is what the lineage of the plant would look like for whomever buys it.. The identities of the individuals are described in the book excerpt above:

Lineage of the Sansevieria .jpg
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