Saturday, 2 October 2010

Arisaema heterophyllum (cobra lily)

This morning I took my coffee out into the sunshine.  After weeks of cold, windy and even wet days, it was too tempting to move my morning ritual out to the garden.  I wanted to see who had been bathing in the new bird-bath,  but that wasn't to be...  still rather cryptic, I'm afraid.

However, as I sat there, I noticed a really strange stem of a plant....
...  in fact,  I had cut it off  with the whipper snipper a couple of days ago...  but it hadn't completely wilted even yet.
The leaves of this specimen are very interesting...
I think you can see the arrangement here....  (interesting that the leaves have revived easily so long after being cut.... a good sign for a plants in hot dry weather, and probably the very reason that these have survived at all.)
The stalk is sticking straight up in this picture and the middle lobe of the leaf continues straight on.  The two side lobes ahve gone on to produce another four lobes(for a total of five) on each side.  This is called a "necklace" of leaves in one description that I read.
It took me some time to find something similar on the internet, my source of all encyclopaedic information these days.)  There are a huge number of species in the genus Arisaema.  This one has a Chinese name  (Tian nan xing) and so may well be one of the species from there.

I recognised another plant from my garden....
...  this seems to grow easily and requires absolutely no care.

Meanwhile,  I have new been out to dig deeply into the soil near the place that I had clipped the biggest plant with the whipper snipper the other day.  Online, the specimens are shown as a kind of bulb,  though I think it may more accurately be called a tuber... I'm not sure.
I found a couple more of the underground parts that were beginning to shoot.  This time, I carefully removed them and transferred them into a pot.... with high hopes that I can one day find out jsut what kind of flower the bigger one produces.  As I read on,  I found that this might well take some time...
Arisaema plants are typically male when small, and female or hermaphraditic when large, with a single plant capable of changing sex based on nutrition and genetics, and perhaps changing sex several times during its long life (20 years or more). (Wikipedia)

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