This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
The brilliant little scarlet berries of this plant render it, when well grown, one of the prettiest of ornaments for the hothouse, conservatory, or even for a warm room. It is quite easily managed, stray seeds of it even growing where they fall, and making handsome specimens. For indoor decoration few subjects are more interesting, and a few plants may be so managed as to have them in fruit in succession all the year round. Any kind of soil will answer for this Rivina. Cuttings of it strike freely, but it is easiest obtained from seeds. Either one plant or three may occupy a 6 in. pot, and that is the best size for table decoration. Usually it is best to raise a few plants every year and discard the old stock, but some may be retained for growing into large specimens. These should be cut back before they are started into growth. The berries yield a fine, but fugitive red color. Miller says that he made experiments with the juice for coloring flowers, and succeeded extremely well, thus making the tuberose and the double white narcissus variegated in one night. Of this species there is a variety with yellow berries which are not quite so handsome as the red, though very attractive. R. humilis differs from lævis in having hairy leaves, those of lævis being quite smooth. It also differs in the duller red color of the berries, lævis being much the prettier. Both are natives of the West Indies.--R.I.L., in The Garden.