A is for Aroid

Thu, 2019-04-04 07:18 -- gsparrow
4 Apr
Bridget Wosczyna
Arisaema candidissimum is sweetly scented to some noses.

A IS FOR aroid... and Alocasia, Amorphophallus, Arisaema, and Arum. The last genus is the most fitting in regard to the rock garden, of course, but let me start where it began for me: May 2002. I quit my full-time, safe job in the legal department of a now very large real estate concern in southeastern Pennsylvania. I took a job pulling weeds and planting annuals with a woman who had a garden maintenance company. It was in a garden we maintained that I was struck. Anyone who knows me well knows this story. I walked over to a shade bed, and there was the most peculiar flower: Arisaema triphyllum, our native jack- in-the-pulpit. You can find them in colonies of hundreds, if you know where to look, in any damp wooded area up and down the East Coast. I still see it, that jack. It was tall, at least 18 inches (45 cm), planted perfectly and shone in the shade; all green and white, no carmine. Nearly everything else just faded for me. You know what I mean. Sure you do. Your kryptonite may be a rare hepatica selection from Japan, or a rheum from Tibet, or something they grow perfectly at the Denver Botanical Gardens but just says “nope” in your garden. But I fell for something local, native, and, heaven forbid, common.


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