Arisaema costatum. Favourite Plant in the garden this week

I think I might be a day late, but I am joining in with  the favourite plant of the week meme at  Danger Garden  as it seems appropriate with such a sinister looking plant as this weird Arisaema which is known as The Striped Cobra Lily. It looks pretty dangerous to me with its long whip like tail.
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It has a lovely striped, purple and white hood with a long appendage to the spadix. The actual flowers are tiny and hidden at the base of the spadix.
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Arisaeamas are not exactly beautiful but they are weirdly fascinating. They are also peculiar in the way that they change sex as they grow. The first inflorescence will have male flowers. In subsequent years it will have female flowers. Once successfully pollinated the seed production will exhaust the plant and it will go back to being male. I think the word for this is monoecious. Correct me if I am wrong, I only learnt the word a few weeks ago.

The attractive, trifoliate or three lobed leaves are quite large.

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Arisaemas like woodland conditions and this one is hardy as long as you protect it in winter with a thick mulch. It is a good idea to mark where you have planted them because they disappear entirely when they have finished flowering. I always worry that I have lost them but when they appear they grow very quickly.  I have planted this Arisaema under my lovely Forest Pansy Cercis canadensis as the beautiful purple colour of the spathe matches the colour of the leaves.
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I am not sure that this really is my favourite plant this week, how could it be when the roses are in bloom? But it certainly is the weirdest. Perhaps there should be a  weirdest plant of the week meme. If you go over to to Loree at Danger Garden  you can find an even weirder plant. Her crested Sedum: Sedum ochroleucum is very peculiar.

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30 Responses to Arisaema costatum. Favourite Plant in the garden this week

  1. Great post with so much information Chloris – I was sent some Arisaema by Helene at Graphicality UK in our plant swap but sadly they haven’ appeared. Luckily she’s sending me some more. I’ll be keeping in mind everything you’ve written and use the tip of mulching and marking.
    I love how you’ve matched it with your Cercis – they really do show each other off.

    • Chloris says:

      Don’ t give up hope yet Angie, many Arisaemas don’ t show their heads until June. I have a couple of different ones that I am still anxiously waiting for.

  2. Kris P says:

    Your Arisaema would be worth growing for the leaves alone, Chloris. The flower is certainly weird but strangely arresting – it’s a perfect choice for a favorite this week. It’s sex change capabilities adds to the fascination. I tend to feature the plants that particularly draw my attention, as opposed to the garden workhorses I favor to fill more prominent roles in the garden.

  3. Flighty says:

    An interesting post about a fascinating plant. xx

  4. Cathy says:

    Weird and wonderful… I rather like it!

    • Chloris says:

      I never used to like them but I can’ t resist them now. I have two more; Arisaema consanguineum and Arisaema candidissimun. I don’ t suppose I will be able to leave it there.

  5. A fascinating plant! Those tails are very strange.

  6. Chloris says:

    The tail is really long and trails on the ground. I can’ t work out what it could be for. Unless bugs climb up it to fertilise the plant.

  7. Julie says:

    Golly, that is a strange plant, I quite like weird and wonderful plants though and your Arisaema is very handsome.

  8. Chloris says:

    I like them because they are so unusual but not they are exactly beautiful.

  9. I finally found your blog! Your comments on my blog didn’t link me over. We call arisaema Jack in the Pulpit here and they grow wild in my neighbors garden, although I haven’t seen them yet this year. 😦 They are definitely a very cool plant. Sometimes interesting trumps beautiful.

    • Chloris says:

      Well I am glad you found my blog Tammy, I enjoy reading yours, you always make me laugh. You are right plants, don’ t have to be beautiful. I used to loathe succulents but I love them now. They are not beautiful but they make interesting patterns. My Jack in the Pulpit is certainly a talking point.

  10. jenhumm116 says:

    Hi Chloris, I too have a purple Cercis, but all I have under mine are some grotty bergenias and decaying hellebore leaves! This Arisaema is so much more exotic and intriguing, thanks for sharing.

    • Chloris says:

      But isn’ t the Forest Pansy the most beautiful tree? I can’ t make up my mind whether I love it most with rain drops on the leaves or shimmering in the sunshine.

  11. I love it! These are great bunch of plants that I’ve neglected to grow, not sure why. Your placement is also exquisite next to your Cercis. Thank you for joining in the Fav fun and and you’re not late it’s great to post a fav whenever you have one. Now I need to explore more of your blog…

  12. Chloris says:

    Thank you for hosting this meme Loree, I shall be joining in again with a favourite plant. Next time, a beautiful plant rather than a weird one.

  13. You took the words out of my mouth – fascinating, rather than beautiful! Very interesting facts you provided about their sexuality. I never knew that! Good combo with your Cercis.

  14. Love it! Warmly scary, like a Hammer Horror film.

  15. croftgarden says:

    Definitely one for the plant connoisseurs and botanists. Totally fascinating in terms of their structure and biology. I’ve grown them for ages, mainly in pots, with varying degrees of success. I’m now starting to try them in the garden and it will be interesting to see if any can cope with my coastal conditions.
    It is probably worth mentioning that as they are pollinated by flies, the scent they produce is not particularly attractive, so admire from a distance!

  16. Anna says:

    Oh deliciously dark and mysterious Chloris. I could be tempted but have just read the above comment about their scent 🙂

  17. Robbie says:

    A friend gave me one of these a few years ago, it did not last in my garden, but what an interesting plant-weird is right:-)

  18. Chloris says:

    I love all the Arisaemas. I only have three sorts at the moment but collecting them is a bit compulsive.

  19. The Cobra Lily is a cool plant! Nice pictures :

    check out my Hosta!
    Michael
    http://michaelswoodcraft.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/hosta/

  20. bittster says:

    You’re right, it’s a fascinating plant. Will you be collecting more? I have a few pots of seedlings coming along and hope to have it end there since I don’t have nearly enough moist woodland shade to house the entire extended family!

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