Arisaema spp.

This fascinating family of plants is one of the Garden’s secret treasures

Their flowers are arranged on a long spike known as a ‘spadix’ that emerges from a ‘spathe’, a leaf-like sheath. These features give rise to its common name jack-in-the-pulpit, a double-entendre that co-incidentally reflects arisaemas’ unique ability to change sex.

Most arisaemas originate in China and Japan but our collection originates from the loving hands of horticultural stalwart Martin Knowles. For years he has been growing hard to grow varieties under the magnolia trees near the centre of the Double Walled Garden.

Here they can occasionally draw attention with foul or sweet smells to attract pollinating flies. But look closely and you’ll see wonderfully sculpted plants which are related to some of the first flowering plants on Earth.