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Plant Profile: Mouse Plant (Arisaema proboscideum)

arisarum-proboscideumMouse plant is a herbaceous perennial related to Jack in the Pulpit is a native of Spain and Italy where it grows in shaded woodlands and marshy areas,   It’s common name comes from the resemblance of its flowers to the hindquarters and tail of a mouse. The flowers are borne on a stem like structue (spadix) inside a purple and white hood-like structure (spathe) which gradually tapers to a long thin “tail” about six inches long . On the tip of the spadix is a tissue that looks like a fungus. It attracts fungus nats that enter the spathe through the opening in the tip of the “tail” to lay their eggs but pollinate the plant at the same time. The flowers usually lie out of sight below the green, arrow-shaped, six inch long leaves so placing the plant in an area where it is accessible is essential to enjoying it. The plants go dormant after flowering but make good companions for spring bulbs. Mouse plant spreads by rhizomes and slowly naturalizes.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Purple and white spathe with 6” long taperd “tail” like encloses the flower bearing spadix in spring

Size:6” H x 12” W

Light: Part to full shade

Soil: Organic, moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7-9

Care: Plant 3.5 deep and mulch in winter

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, division

Companion plants: Hosta, astilbe, Bergenia, ferns, bleeding heart, Epimedium, Anemone nemorosa.

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