Re: "Arum besserianum"

Hi Folks and a Happy New Year.

Since 'Arum' was published there have been a number of interesting 
and exciting finds that change things a bit. Arum besserianum is one 
of these. It is one of a number of distinct species that form a 
complex centered on Arum orientale Other members of the 
complex are A. sintenisii (Cyprus), A. elongatum (E Europe, 
W/SW Russia), A. apulum (Italy), A. nigrum (Balkans) and A. gratum 
(NW Turkey). All have discoid-erect tubers and deep purple to 
purplish-tinged green spathes. Most are foul-smelling 
but A. gratum smells of crushed smoke bush leaves (Cotinus coggygria: 
Anacardiaceae) and A. sintenisii has a smell reminiscent of apple 
brandy. All I've germinated from this group (all of the above except 
A. besserianum, in fact) produce a leaf soon after germination in 
late summer/early autumn and continue to grow leaves throughout the 
first season before going dormant in late spring/early summer. The 
trick is to keep them growing as long as possible and to get the 
tubers as large as you can by feeding regularly and by potting the 
entire pot of seedlings on as soon as roots start to appear 
through the drainage holes. To do this simply knock the pot of 
plants out and, without disturbing them, put them in  larger pot, 
filling the space below and around the root ball with fresh compost. 
In this way it is quite possible to get tubers the size of an brazil 
nut at the end of the first season and flowering plants within three 

Hope this helps


Peter Boyce
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Surrey    TW9 3AE

Tel. + 44 - (0)181 332 5207
Fax. + 44 - (0)181 332 5298

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