The Northern Winter

Rob McClure Rob.McClure at SCI.MONASH.EDU.AU
Wed Nov 24 07:50:35 CET 1999

George R Stilwell, Jr. wrote:
> The winter is just about here for us northern hemisphere types. All is
> very
> quiet on Arisaema-L. After all, what's to say about some dormant tubers?
> OK you southern hemisphere types - how about raising our morale by
> telling us what's happening in the land of springtime.
> Some time ago, Shing Lam sent us some seed from Arisaema growing in Hong
> Kong.
> Most of the seedlings haven't survived our winters here in North
> Carolina, but
> to my surprise, Arisaema cordatum is alive and was in great shape last
> spring.
> The seeds were germinated in March of 1996, so the plants have survived
> two
> winters so far.
> Are any of you growing some of the "tropical" Arisaema? Have you tried
> any of
> them outside through the winter? It would be nice to find out how hardy
> they really are.
> Ray

Hi Ray and fellow Arisaema enthusiasts,

I am more than happy to update you on the southern hemisphere situation.

We are indeed having a terrific spring down here in Melbourne. Heaps of
sunshine and just enough rain to keep things flourishing. November is
probably one of the prettiest times here with fresh green on all the
trees and heaps of flowers everywhere.

The Arisaemas in my shadehouse are enjoying the weather too.
A. amurense is always an early starter, flowering in July, soon followed
by thunbergii, heterophyllum, nepenthoides, ochraceum and consanguineum.
Had a good flowering from propinquum and much to my excitement my first
flower on galeatum.
By early october I had flowered 2 ringens for the first time ( this one
is tricky for me ) and sikokianum ( also tricky ) flowered too.
Now in late Nov. I have flowers on intermedium, concinnum, costatum,
yunnanense, flavum abbreviatum, triphyllum zebrinum, triphyllum
'NLC'(thanks to your '96 seed Ray )and a lovely group of chest-high
tortuosums in full bloom.
Still to come up (hopefully) are a lot of the Tamang imports from '97.
They seem to be taking their time to adjust hemispheres. Chen Yi imports
from last year seem to be deciding whether to reshoot or not but what is
really exciting is new shoots on the new Chinese sp. (nickname
'giganteum' ) collected by Greg Ruckert last year. I'm not sure if Greg
has 'published' the photo on his web page yet but it is a truly
remarkable plant. Cross a galeatum with a griffithii , throw in a little
propinquum and fargesii, make the whole thing grow 3 times bigger and
you will start to get the idea. Could this be the 'king of Arisaemas ' ?

With regard to tropical arisaemas I am growing A. umbrinum but it grows
and flowers in the glasshouse and I would not risk it outside in our
winter (zone 9).

Other tuberous aroids growing at the moment are Dracunculus (vulgaris
and canariensis) just finishing flowering and starting to go into summer
dormancy mode. Helicodiceros too did its usual 'shocking' display and is
now in decline for the year. The Biarums are resting but some are now
throwing up their second flower spikes for the year ( I can't quite
figure out why they do it ) and my Zantedeschias (5 species and 5
hybrids) are all flowering too.
The Lysichitons and Symplocarpus in the bog garden are thriving and even
setting some seed this year and even my Calla palustris has decided to
stop sulking and start throwing out some new shoots.

Back in the shadehouse is a nice batch of Pinellia cordata in full
flower ( thanks Ellen Hornig ) and next door in the tropical house
Anchomanes difformis is flowering. I think I hear rumblings in the
Amorphophallus pots too...they usually start shooting in December.

Had enough ?? Drop me a line if you are snowed in want to rave about
aroids. Think of me preparing for possibly another long, hot and dry
Aussie summer.

Keep warm up there,


Biological Sciences
Monash University, Clayton 3800
e-mail: Rob.McClure at

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