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At first glance, the casual observer would think a pinellia is from the same genus as arisaemas. They have the same jack-in-the-pulpit structure to the inflorescence, so why not? Here are a few hints (from a non-botanist):
There are four species in cultivation and in the trade in the US and Europe:
Please do yourself a favor and DO NOT grow P. ternata in the ground. If you'd like to grow it, keep it in a well contained pot. Sorry to say, but P. ternata is close to being the purple loosestrife of the aroid world.
So what are the differences between the inflorescences on these species? Funny you should ask. I just happen to have some pictures. Check them out here.
Eric also sent me an abstract of a paper on Pinellia presented at the conference by Li Li of the Beijing Vegetable Research Centre. (do they eat these things???). Mr. Li says there are about 10 species in the world, primarily China, Japan, and Korea. In China there are 8 species and one form. In addition to the names above, he also lists P. zhiguiensis and P. ternata f. angustata, plus P. tenore as a new species. He further proposes that P. yaoloupingensis, zhiguiensis, and the ternata forms are polyploid. P. peltata and integrifolia are described as being relatively primitive, whatever that means (scholarly help is welcome). He does not mention P. polyphylla; if I include it I come up with 9 species instead of 8.
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