Arisaema tortuosum

Arisaema tortuosum

The name Arisaema was established in 1831 by German botanist and explorer Von Matius (1794-1868) and was based on three Himalayan species A. costatum, nepenthoides and speciosum which had previously been described and illustrated in 1828 by dutch born surgeon and botanist Nathaniel Wallich who placed them under the genus Arum.

Of course Arisaemas can be found in other regions of the northern hemisphere including the mountain areas of Asia as the Himalaya region, India, China and Japan, and there are two species originated from N. America.

Most arisaemas grow in humus rich soil in filtered light positions. Hardiness varies considerably among the species. Some can be grown in regions where winter temperatures drop to around below -10 Deg C. provided the soil is not water-logged. Tropical species need to be grown in frost free regions. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, particularly during the hotter times of the day.

We have a small collection of 9 of these very beautiful plants. Most have been grown from seed purchased from various sources. Of these 9 we can only really confirm the identity of 3; flavum, sikokianum and ringens. The others will need careful examination to confirm, or otherwise their identity. We make this point because references in relation to Arisaema are uniform. For example many texts still record that A. amurense can be found in Japan. However, in 1986 japanese botanist Murata revised the group of A. amurense and stated that this species is restricted to continental Asia including Korea, Russia and China and not found in Japan. The similar Japanese species is A. ovale.

We will continue to review our collection.

Northern India from Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim and western China and south to Sri Lanka and northern Myanmar. As mentioned in the preamble species that have a wide distribution area are likely to have variability in appearance. For example D. Wallich described a species collected from Nepal as being the tallest he had seen; reaching nearly 2 metres. However, further south in southern India the species is much smaller and is tolerant of dryer soils in lower elevations.

Arisaema tortuosum, often referred to as the Whipcord Cobra Lily. It has a large funnel-shaped spathe is green and veined with pale whitish-green and from the mouth of the hood-like tube arises the elongated spadix which curves abruptly skywards and with its long extended appendix gives the plant its whipcord name. The colour of the spadix is can be variable from either green or purplish but our ones tend to be green.

It is hardy in our climate providing it has a freely-draining yet humus-rich substrate and a good thick mulch during the winter months. To avoid rotting, the tubers should ideally be surrounded by generous handfuls of sharp sand when planting.

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Posted on

January 22, 2018