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Arisaema candidissimum

Arisaema candidissimum



About this cultivar:

Arisaema candidissimum is a species originating in western China commonly called the striped cobra lily or Chinese jack-in-the-pulpit. It was first described in 1917 by William Wright Smith (1875- 1956) who was also the Queen's Botanist in Scotland, the Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Edinburgh, and President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Phew!

But don't be intimidated, it is one of the easiest-to-grow and most exciting of the cobra lilies. Emerging in very late spring are tall stalks of pink pitchers dramatically striped with translucent, white vertical veins (candidissimum means "dazzling white"). Alongside the flower are two giant, three-lobed leaves. Just look at the pictures!

  • Position: Full sun, partial shade (better in partial shade)
  • Soil: Almost any soil - grows well in Ballyrobert!
  • Flowers: June, July
  • Other features: -
  • Hardiness: Fully hardy - grows well in Ballyrobert!
  • Habit: Columnar or Upright
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Height: 7 - 22 cm (0.25 - 0.75 ft)
  • Spread: 7 - 22 cm (0.25 - 0.75 ft)
  • Time to full growth: 5 to 10 years
  • Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Colour: White, green, pink
  • Goes well with: Epimedium, Hosta

About this genus:

Arisaema is a large and diverse genus of the flowering plant family Araceae. Native to almost anywhere in the northern Hemisphere. First described in 1831 by the German botanist Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794 -1868), I believe Arisaema is a combination of two Greek words, “Aris” meaning arum  (or the god of war!?) and “haema” meaning blood. The Asiatic species are commonly called cobra lilies, while western species are often called jack-in-the-pulpit; both names refer to the distinctive appearance of the flower.

One unusual trait shared by all Arisaema species is they change sex. Arisaema plants are typically male when small, and female or hermaphraditic when large, with a single plant capable of changing sex several times during its long life (20 years or more)!

Arisaema are mostly tuberous perennials usually with palmately lobed leaves, and distinctive tubular, hooded spathes within which the tiny true flowers are clustered at the base of the club-like or filamentous spadix, followed by a spike of red berries.

The ones we sell tend to grow almost anywhere that isn't being blasted by heat (not a problem in the British Isles) and are very hardy. However they are very slow growing; you need to be patient. However the wait is worth it, not only are they beautiful but unusual.. take a look at the photos during the day and night!

Try them with Epidmedium, or my favourite, Hosta.