Arisaema surprise

Jim McClements, Dover, DE z6 JimMcClem at AOL.COM
Thu Aug 3 17:21:59 CEST 2000

One of the most enjoyable things that can happen to a seedaholic is to have
something unexpected come from seed. Of course, it's only enjoyable if the
unexpected isn't a weed!

In '98 I planted seed from A. angustatum peninsulae variegata DJH183 that I
had had in the garden since '96. I remember thinking at the time that it was
odd that it made seed, since it was the only one I had, but assumed that
there may have been some male flowers present. The seed were germinated and
raised under lights, with the usual three months in the refrigerator between
growth cycles. They came out of their second refrigeration last month and
were large enough to plant out in a bed.

Yesterday I found that 4 are flowering, almost identical, with a perfectly
white globular appendix, obviously the result of pollination of the "mother"
by A. sikokianum. (which were growing nearby). This is a striking hybrid,
even more attractive than the sikokianum/takedae hybrid that Don Jacobs
produced a few years ago.

However, it points out a fact that we sometime tend to ignore. Now that many
of us are growing many newly-available species of arisaemas, the term
"open-pollinated" will become much more significant. Seed from a given
species, unless it is completely isolated from other pollen, has a good
chance of being a hybrid. In the wild this can certainly occur if two species
grow in proximity, but most often such is not the case. It's also obvious
that pollination/hybridization can occur without human help!

It might be well for the seedX to ask donors to identify seeds that are
"O.P". Arisaema taxonomy is confused enough without having a lot of garden
hybrids introduced into the mix.

Jim McClements

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