Topic of the Week--Arisaema

J.E. Shields
Tue, 19 Aug 2003 05:58:50 PDT
Hi all,

I'm becoming quite fond of Arisaema.  It started when I was a kid, growing 
up in Indiana.  A highlight of any spring wildflower trek into the woods 
was to find Jack in the Pulpit, our native Arisaema triphyllum.  Jack's 
pulpit is usually green, striped with white or light green, but 
occasionally you find one that is purple-brown striped with light green or 

I've found that the following are quite hardy here in central Indiana (USDA 
cold zone 5):

Arisaema triphyllum (native here)
A. dracontium (another native)
A. ringens
A. fargesii
A. serratum
A. candidissimum
A. consanguineum
A. sikokianum

Surviving but not blooming:

Arisaema sazensoo
A. kishidae


Arisaema thunbergii thunbergii
and A. thunbergii urashima

Arisaema sikokianum is the spectacular plant with the dark brown "pulpit" 
and the snow white, club-shaped "jack".  It is one of the early 
bloomers.  Many. like our native A. triphyllum, come up and bloom in 
spring.  There are a few that come up much later and bloom in summer:  A. 
consanguineum and A. fargesii, for example.  The late growth habit probably 
makes them much less susceptible to damage from spring freezes here.

I am looking forward to trying such species as A. heterophyllum, also 
supposed to be quite hardy here.  I am also starting some from seed, 
obtained from the AEG (Arisaema Enthusiasts Group) seed exchange.  AEG is 
an electronic plant society, like Alpine-L, and resides on the same 
listserver -- Surfnet.NL   Go to…  for more information.

I have a modest page for Arisaema in my own web site, and there are links 
there to better pages:…

I grow all the species that I have in the ground, in my woodland 
garden.  Most of these are from China.  There are tender species from other 
parts of Asia that most of us cannot grow outdoors, so they are grown in 
pots.  I saw a couple really odd looking, unidentified  Arisaema in the 
greenhouses of the University of Basel Botanic Garden a year or two ago in 
Switzerland.  I think they were from Thailand or Burma.

The species I am aware of all grow in the summer and rest in the 
winter.  Winter wet may cause them to rot.  I will be interested to learn 
what species grow in the Mediterranean climate of the West Coast and how 
the manage to survive.

Jim Shields
in central Indiana

At 07:30 PM 8/18/2003 -0700, you wrote:
>Dear All,
>I'm not sure what happened to the introduction for the topic of the week 
>this week. Perhaps it will come later in the week. I grow no Arisaemas but 
>know a lot of you do and that they have been mentioned a lot. And there 
>are many interesting pictures of them on the wiki.
>So until the introduction arrives perhaps some of you can tell us which 
>are your favorites and why and others ask questions about them.
>Mary Sue
>pbs mailing list

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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