Arthropodium is a genus that has been considered to be in many different families. It is sometimes included in a broader Liliaceae family or in the Anthericaceae family. The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group II, 2003 suggests that it could optionally be included in the Agavaceae or the Asparagaceae family. It is from the Southern Hemisphere with species from Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Madagascar. Some of the species were rather recently found in the genus Dichopogon, previously differentiated because of their smooth instead of fringed filaments, but they have been moved to this genus. Rootstocks are rhizomes, often with tuberous roots that last a couple of seasons and are produced new each year. Many of the species are probably not very hardy, but are quick to grow and bloom from seed. The seeds have a short viability and no germination trigger, although late winter planting and watering seems to give the best results.
Arthropodium cirrhatum commonly known as a Rock Lily is native to New Zealand. It is evergreen with small white flowers in early summer. This plant grows easily in Northern California in shade, but needs some water year round. Snails and slugs are very fond of it. Photographs by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner show the plant growing in our garden and a close-up of the flowers. The last photo from Kiyel Boland shows a plant growing in the gardens where he works in New Zealand.
Arthropodium milleflorum has fleshy, fibrous, tuber-like roots. It is native to Australia where it grows in moist, well drained soils in hilly and rocky areas. It has tufted leaves and small pale lilac, mauve, or white flowers. It is quick from seed and only dormant briefly in late summer, early fall. The flowers although small are very beautiful. Photos from Mary Sue Ittner show the flowers in bud and starting to set seed and the last the leaves.
Arthropodium strictum syn. Dichopogon strictus known as the Chocolate Lily is from Australia. It is found in grassland and open forest. It has grass-like leaves and blue to violet flowers and smells of chocolate or vanilla. This species has a brief dormancy late summer, early fall and needs moisture during its long growing period. Plants should be grown in light shade or morning sun and afternoon shade. It takes only 1-2 years for the plants to mature from seeds. The first three photos by Mary Sue Ittner show the flowers and the last the very unusual roots (on a 1 cm. grid of squares) at the end of the growing season. The next three were taken in the the Grampians, Victoria where they were growing in the rocks near a waterfall October 2007.