The genus Arisaema, a popular group of hardy and semi-hardy aroids in the Araceae family, is comprised of approximately 260 species and 90 subspecies/variations (as of January 1999) and they are primarily found in the Himalayas, China and Japan, although a number of species are found in southern India, South East Asia, north-eastern Africa and North America. Many new species have come from China in recent years providing some confusion with naming.
There are many species easily grown in the open garden while others can be quite challenging to maintain in cultivation because of their dislike of moisture during winter dormancy. They are easily grown from seed. They can sometimes skip a season and then surprise you when you think you have lost them by reappearing. Some of this information furnished by Ernie O'Byrne in his introduction to the topic of the week which featured Arisaema August 2003.
Ernie wrote this about when to harvest the seed. "Just bring the seedheads inside and let them ripen until they are red. This sometimes takes a month, or more. Then clean them, wearing plastic or latex gloves, since some arisaema fruits have annoying spicules that cause a reaction in sensitive people, or if a lot are cleaned at one time." Roy Herold cleans his seeds in a blender. He wrote to the PBS list: "Fill it half full of water, toss in the seeds, and give it a few pulses. Pour it out through a strainer, and spread the remaining seeds and skins on a towel. Let dry, and the seeds are easily separated from the 'chaff'. Works like a charm, with no damage whatsoever to the seeds." A pbs list post from Giorgio Pozzi includes propagation information from the IAS Newsletter, 22:1, pages 6-7, Growing Arisaemas from Seed by Jim McClements. Generally it is accepted that seeds do not need to be soaked in order to germinate although some species may require a cold-warm treatment.
The Genus Arisaema by Guy and Liliane Gusman is the best reference for this genus. Giorgio Pozzi has kindly supplied a list of the fourteen sections that Gusman has used in dividing this genus with the associated species in each section. Information and pictures of species can be found alphabetically by going to the wiki pages below or by clicking on the species in the table.
Photos of a few of the species are shown below.
For more photos and information about the species select the appropriate wiki page:
or click on the name in the table below: