Sauromatum on the wiki and in the garden

Jim McKenney
Fri, 10 Jun 2005 07:02:11 PDT
Russell, I'm, not sure what you're asking me. S. venosum and S. guttatum are
the same thing to me. Given the extensive range attributed to this plant, I
would expect some populations to be hardier than others. For instance, I
would guess that the Asian populations might in general be hardier than the
African ones. I've never had plants with collection data, so I'm in the dark
about the hardiness of the different populations.

The plants growing here have been outside for decades, and they spread
themselves around a bit. They're not yet weedy, but the coarse foliage is no
friend to smaller plants. I've long since stopped worrying about their

I grew this plant as a youngster, and back then considered it 'tropical'.
There were always extras, and eventually some were tried outside. I
distinctly remember giving some big corms a nice spot right near the house
wall, the sort of place where almost anything winter dormant would survive.
Those plants failed: the winter did them in. 

The plants in the garden grow without any protection at all. They have more
or less sited themselves - usually in some place inconvenient from my point
of view.

Incidentally, if I had a bigger garden, I might devote a square yard or two
to this plant in a long, narrow group. When they are in bloom (and they
bloom freely here) they are very striking. Those spathes, with their strange
urn-like bases right down at ground level, are very curious. They should
really have a space of their own because they always bloom in June, and by
that time the rest of the garden has grown up around them. If you want to be
able to see them, don't mix them with other taller plants which surge into
growth earlier. 

But the stench...

The foliage is coarse, but in its way ornamental - just the sort of thing
people into tropical summer bedding go for.  Here the leaves can be up to a
yard across and high.

After writing all of the above, I went back and reviewed my original posting
and the text at the wiki site. Duh...nowhere did I come right out and say
that it is treated here as a hardy plant. Glad you asked, Russell. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, this week at least the land
of the spotted lizardwort.   

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