A fall-blooming Arum species

Fall bloomers always catch my attention – not only do they provide interest and color when a lot of other plants are still just waking up from summer-dry semi (or total) dormancy, but they also celebrate what I consider to be the ‘start’ of the natural year in mediterranean climates – Arum pictum, courtesy of Plant Delights Nursery when the rainy season begins!

Arum pictum, the only fall blooming in its genus, is a plant I’d like to grow someday soon. Not often available, I’ve yet to be able to acquire it, nor have I heard from anyone who might be growing it in California – to see how it adapts to our local conditions.  I like the idea of a fall blooming Arum, with the flowers opening at the same time that the foliage is fresh  (the other spring bloomers flower when the foliage is looking tired or already starting to go dormant).
Here is what the famous authority of the genus Arum, Peter Boyce,  has to say about this species:

“The leaves of A. pictum display a variety of colours, depending on the stage of development reached. On first emerging they are a deep, shiny, metallic green, with the margins . . . tinged with purple. As the leaf expands the purple . . . coloration fades while the main and lateral veins become slightly paler; the margin however retains its coloration. As the season progresses . . . the veins continue to lighten until late spring, when they stand out as a creamy-white to silvery-grey network. The late season coloration of A. pictum leaves is similar to the silver-grey veining of many forms of A. italicum, although the leaf shape is very different. In view of this similarity it is hardly surprising that these two plants have been much confused in the past. In addition to its attractive foliage, A. pictum produces spathes at the start of the growth period in the autumn, a flowering pattern which is unique to this species.
Arum pictum was first described by Linnaeus the younger from material gathered on Corsica, where it occurs in stony or rocky places or beneath low scrub.”

If anyone reading this has experience with growing this species, I’d be most interested in hearing from you – especially if you know of a source for this interesting plant .



1 Response to “A fall-blooming Arum species”

  1. 1 Marcus Harvey 30 March, 2011 at 00:08

    Hi Sean,

    I came across your interesting blog by accident and proceeded to read about your interest in arums and geraniums … . You say that you can’t find a source for Arum pictum. I am one and have both bulbs and seed if you are interested?

    Cheers, Marcus

    Its very easy for me here in Tasmania – a little more maritime than Mediterranean but by North American standards way closer to the latter.

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A blog by Seán A. O'Hara

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