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Arisaema kiushianum - plant of the month May 2011

 

 

Native to Kyushu, Japan, where it grows in montane wooded areas, this delightful species does its best to imitate tiny purple faced, wide-eyed owls, hiding beneath a canopy of usually single stemmed, pedate leaves, 10-38cms long, which can be divided into anything from seven to thirteen segments. 

Said to be stoloniferous in nature, my plant differs by producing the more normal 'pups' on the side of the small ( c. 1.7cm) rhizomatous, cylindrical corm. These tiny bulblets can be severed once they reach handleable size, treated with fungicide. then left to callous over before replanting -using this method it is possible to build up a fairly large flowering sized potful quite quickly.

 

 

 

 

The elegant green 3-7.5 cms high and 2.5-4.3 cms wide spathes are longitudinally striped purple, the pitcher being enveloped by the drooping tip of the hood. Its closest relative is the rather better known Arisaema thunbergii, but it is an altogether more slender species with a markedly shorter peduncle.

  

This species has grown well in a compost comprising leafmould and gritty sand; the corms seated on a good layer of sharp sand to prevent it from rotting. Kept well watered when in full growth and needs some protection from scorching sun in Summer - its fairly large leaves suffer badly from sunstroke. Cold hardiness is not a problem; it took  temperatures below -12C this winter during its dry dormant period, 'dry' being the key word.

Ray Drew
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