ARISAEMA (Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Cobra Lily)
Arisaema sikokianum

The genus Arisaema (Air-i-see-mah) includes over 100 species in the Arum family, most growing in Asia and Japan. Two species grow in Canada, the familiar Jack-in-the-pulpit (A. triphyllum) and A.dracontium (Green Dragon).

As members of the Arum family, most share certain characteristics:

  • Underground tubers
  •  A spathe (hood) covering the inflorescence
  •  A spadix (fleshy rod) growing out of a tube
  •  Small male and female flowers hidden at the base of the tube
  •  Wide umbrella-like leaves





The flowering structures are usually green/purple/brown/white although pink and yellow examples exist.

A specific plant may have all male, all female or mixed flowers. This can change as the plant matures.

The spathes show a wide range of shapes, from upright (A. sikokianum) to drooping with 12 inch threads (A. consanguineum)

                                                                 

arisaema triphyllum




A. triphyllum                           A. sikokianum                      A. consanguineum                 A. flavum                                 A. fargesii               A. candidissimum

 In production
:
A. amurense,  A. tortuosum, A. dracontium, A. jacquemontii, A. heterophyllum


Winter Care

OUTSIDE

  •  The plants we grow are hardy to Zone 5 unless indicated
  •  Make sure the site is well-drained and sheltered
  •  Tubers can be left 6-8 inches below ground
  •  If you have no snow cover, a few inches of mulch will help
  •  Some such as A. sikokianum emerge in early spring and may need frost protection; others emerge as late as June (A. ciliatum v. liubaense) - mark the spot so you don't forget them!

INSIDE

  •   In the fall, store the tuber in barely damp peat moss in a plastic bag in the fridge
  •  Check the tubers every month - if they start to sprout, pot 3-4 inches deep in a large pot
  •  Small offsets sometimes form ? you can start new plants or let a clump develop
  •  You can start the tuber early (April) indoors in a large pot
  •  Slip the contents of the pot into the garden in spring, or include as part of a container planting


Propagating Your Own

1.  Wait until fruit structures turn colour (red/orange).  If the leaves die before this happens, cut off the structure and wait until it turns colour.

2.  Remove pulp around seeds by mashing in a bag and washing off pulp. (Some people have a skin reaction to the fruit so use gloves.)

3.  Store dried seeds in the fridge. (Some advise moist/cold storage;  I have had good germination either way.)





4.  In late winter/early spring sow seeds in deep pots (at least 15cm) of seedling mixture.  LABEL pots!  Push the seeds in .5cm and cover with 1cm of vermiculite.  Water and place pots in resealable plastic bags.  Put bags under lights (not direct sun).


5. Germination should take place in 2-6 weeks.  Plants will only put up 1 small leaf the first year as it develops the tuber.  Keep seedlings watered for the summer (with a few additions of weak fertilizer) and over winter the pot (either in the fridge in a bag or outside plunged in the ground and protected).

6.  Let plants grow in the pot for the second summer (you may need to slip the contents of the pot into a deeper pot) and when they start to go dormant at the end of the season, move individual tubers into the garden or pots or store in the fridge in barely damp peat moss and plant in the spring.


7.  Some species produce side tubers which can be detached once they are producing their own leaves.  This can be done in the fall.




Further Information

BOOKS

The Genus Arisaema by Guy and Liliane Gusman

WEBSITES

International Aroid Society

Arisaema Enthusiast Group



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2-13 PLANT LIST