A. dracontium

George R Stilwell, Jr. grsjr at JUNO.COM
Fri Sep 26 17:28:04 CEST 1997


Be sure the petri dishes allow air to get to the seeds, but not enough to
dry the filter paper. Most of us use pieces of paper towel in small
polyethylene bags. The bags breathe and the paper works fine. I too used
filter paper at first thinking it was more sterile. Paper towels work
fine. I keep the bags of seed in a small box for convenience, but it also
excludes light - probably not necessary.

Examine the bags every few days and pot up the seeds that show a root
radicle. By keeping a log of germination time, you can get a good idea
how often to look for each species. My experience with A. dracontium
shows it runs between 13% in 41 days and 83% in 137 days. That's an
extended period for Arisaema germination so be sure the bags are free of
any mold spores. Perhaps a quick surface sterilization of the seed would
be wise. I use 10% chlorox for a 5 minute dip, then rinse clean.

Once the radicle appears, carefully move them with sterile tweezers from
bag to a pot with a sterile seed starting mix in it and keep moist as the
root grows. Some Arisaema will spend the first year just growing a tuber
and never show a leaf until the second season. A. dracontium should show
a leaf in a couple of weeks from the emergence of the root radicle, but I
don't have an accurate measure of this time for this species.

A very light feeding of the leafed out seedling is ok.

After it has grown a few months and starts to go dormant, withhold water,
lift the tuberlet, store in barely moist chickgrit in a poly bag, and
refrigerate for about 2 months. Then pot it up and grow again to get two
seasons of growth in one year.

Obviously, forcing is not a requirement. If you have the patience, just
leave them in their pots for a second year and then plant them out in the

Heavy moisture during dormancy is bad for Arisaema - the tubers rot. So
be sure you give them excellent drainage there in rainy Brasilia.

Have fun -----

<GRSJr at Juno.com>

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