Order:         Alismatales
Family:       Araceae
Subfamily:  Aroideae
Tribe:          Arisaemateae
Genus:        Arisaema
Species:      A.  ringens

THE JAPANESE COBRA LILY - Arisaema ringens

The Japanese cobra lily is perhaps the most spectacular of all species within the Arisaema genus. Native to Japan, Korea, and China, Arisaema ringens is a tuberous woodland perennial that is best known for its cobra-like flower.


The flowers appear in the spring, one bloom per tuber, arising from the centre of two green trifoliate leaves. Growing to between 4 and - 6 inches tall, each flower is a showy, green and purple striped spathe with a hood. Inside each hood is a yellow to white flower spike known as a spadix. The plant itself will only grow 12 -18 inches in height and spread.

As exotic as this plant undeniably looks, given the right conditions the Japanese cobra lily is in fact completely hardy.

Japanese cobra lilies prefer part shade to full shade and are best grown in moist humus-rich, but well-drained soils. If you are growing from tubers then they will need to be planted about 3-4 inches deep.

The drainage is very important as the root system can become damaged if kept waterlogged for extended periods. Do not allow the soil to dry out. To prevent problems later on  avoid growing in heavy clay soils.

Plants go dormant in summer after flowering, except hermaphroditic flowering plants will produce a cluster of red berries in mid to late summer which become visible as the spathe withers.

The Japanese cobra lily can be grown from seed, but may take 3-5 years before they produce their amazing flower.

For related articles click onto the following links:

How to Grow Canna Lilies   The Turk's Cap Lily  The Madonna Lily  The Foxtail Lily  The Giant Himalayan Lily  The Stargazer Lily The Hardy Spider Lily     The Golden Foxtail lily - Eremurus bungei

About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

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