George R Stilwell, Jr.
grsjr at JUNO.COM
Mon Feb 15 02:07:47 CET 1999
I'm adding Means, Joan 1999. From the Woodlands of Asia. Horticulture
XCVI:2, March 1999, 60-66.
to the Arisaema Bibliography. For those interested in Floral Art, there
are a couple of
really lovely paintings (not Arisaema) by R. C. Booth in the article.
In a sidebar titled "Arisaema Illness", the author states:
[Unfortunately, Asian jack-in-the-pulpits have a history of suddenly
disappearing after a year or two, which understandably distresses
growers who have shelled out several ten-spots for a single tuber. When
this happened to Dr. Cliff Desch, a University of Connecticut biologist,
he was able to pinpoint the culprit: a rust disease that is endemic, but
not always lethal, to our own handsome native, Arisaema triphyllum.
Fortunately, the Asians usually survive until, in accordance with the
strange sexual mores of many of this genus, the flowers have turned from
male to seed-bearing female. If you can't or won't eradicate our native
jack, the immigrants can be kept going (and colonies increased) by
gathering stalks of the brilliant red "berries" each autumn. The red
flesh contains chemicals that inhibit germination (and are also highly
irritating to the skin, making the use of plastic gloves imperative), so
I put the squeezed-out seed in nylon bags and hang them in a toilet tank
so that fresh water automatically washes over them a dozen times a day.
The cleansed seed can then be sown in pots and left outdoors to germinate
in the spring. - J.M.]
Nice article but I hope the part of it on other Asian plants isn't as
misleading as the sidebar. I hate to disagree with the authorities, but
to my knowledge, the loss of tubers is from too-wet winter conditions
and has nothing to do with Arisaema rust (If not so, how does one explain
the same phenomenon happening where there is no rust?). Besides, tubers
in rust infected plants nearly always survive if the rust-infected
foliage is removed. See the lengthy threads on Arisaema rust in the
I think the toilet washing routine is certainly novel. Maybe I'd pass
away in a year or two if you hung me
in the toilet tank for a few days. Just kidding! Actually it's a pretty
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