Tosa Province ArisaemaShikoku Island
Cobra Lily;
or, Tosa Province


Arisaema tosaense is a tall Jack-in-the-Pulpit, native of Shikoku Island, Japan, first described from specimens gathered on Mount Yokogura in the late 1800s.

Easy to grow, Shikoku Island Cobra Lily blooms later than most of its genus. Ours bloomed August through October its first year, but had been "held back" by refrigeration before we got it; May or June would be more typical. The photos on this page are from that first year's Autumn blooming, snapped in September & October.

Tosa Province Arisaema Its second year, getting itself on a normal schedule, it returned so late in spring I was half fearful the tuber might've rotted during the winter. Some of the pulpits were in full bloom in April, others had their spathes full-sized by early to mid May. But of the Shikoku Island Cobra Lily there was no sign in April, & it was only showing the "horn" of its first eruption during the whole of May. A May photo can be seen on the A. tosaense page of the Pulpit Gallery.

It's a relatively recent addition to Arisaema gardening in America. The first ones in Europe were from seeds gathered in Tosa Province by Guy Gusman of Belgium, & most of them in America were obtained as corms from Dr. Gusman's stock. Ours was grown by Naylor Creek Nursery, a nearby shade plant specialist on the Olympic Penninsula.

Tosa Province ArisaemaIt has an unusually pale transluscent green spathe with white stripes, & a rather long whip that sometimes sticks straight out several inches from the point of the hood, or may hang downward from the tip of the hood nearly to the bottom of the spathe. The third photo shown on this page was a lucky shot in that it captured the near incadescence of the spathe.

Each plant produces two largish, tall pedate leaves that divide into seven to fifteen leaflets. The petiole or flower's pseudo-stem is thick & mottled, rather snake-skin-like, a fine match for the cobra hood.

If you look closely at the petiole you can see this skin actually consists of closely wrapped cataphils which are specialized false leaves.

The spadix or "Jack" is a stubby fellow who stands upright inside the spathe, nearly but not quite hidden.

Continue to:
Snow Rice-cake Japanese Jack-in-the-Pulpit
(A. sikokianum)


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