International Aroid Society


The Arisaema Species

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Originally compiled by G.R. Stilwell, Jr., Guy Gusman & Eric Walton in 1999 at /genera/arisaema/herold/Pages/arlist.html

Revised and annotated in January 2003 by Wilbert Hetterscheid

To date there is no full scale taxonomic revision available of the genus Arisaema . Important contributions to the taxonomy of Arisaema have been published by Engler (1920 in Das Pflanzenreich), Chaterjee (1954[1955], Indian and Burmese species), Hara (1971, eastern Himalayan species), Li Heng (1979, in Flora of China; in Chinese but currently being translated to an English version), Ohashi & Murata (1980, Japanese species), Murata (1984, infrageneric classification), Ko & Kim (1985, Korean species), Mayo & Gilbert (1986, Tropical African and Arabian species), Murata (1990, general systematics of the genus), Wang (1996, Taiwanese species), Pradhan (1997, [2nd ed.], Himalayan species and horticulture), Gusman & Gusman (2002, full scale review of the genus with an horticultural angle).

The above mentioned literature is far from uniform in voiced opinions on the taxonomy of Arisaema . Different taxonomic cultures sometimes clash and personal views permeate that are not always backed up by professional taxonomic analysis. But this is the dynamics in which the taxonomy of Arisaema is involved these days and that is exciting. Special attention is to be paid to the names of the Japanese species, that seem to be changing forever. In the most recent checklist (Govaerts & Frodin, 2002) for instance, the species A. japonicum and A. serratum are again separated just as we were getting used to the merger of the two under the name A. serratum . Furthermore such widely accepted species as A. sazensoo and A. engleri are synonymised under a broad concept of A. sikokianum , obviously following the latest Japanese and Chinese "rumours" to that effect. However the latter opinion is not followed here. Neither is e.g. the separation of A. peninsulae from A. angustatum . Therefore the species list below is nothing more than another frozen moment in time of these dynamics. The list leans partly on the recently published Araceae checklist and bibliography by Govaerts & Frodin mentioned above, wherein Arisaema names were reviewed by Jin Murata and Nguyen Van Du, so that makes for some reliability. However, as stated above, some ideas seem to be unsound and I have not hesitated to follow Gusman & Gusman in several of these contentious issues as these authors treat such species on the basis of lots of gathered data from plants in cultivation. Then there are several recent publications bu Li heng and co-workers on Chinese species. It is a pity that these recent publications vary wildly on many matters of Arisaema taxonomy. A better international cooperation for an acceptable taxonomy of Arisaema is badly needed before other "monographs" appear. We all should be aware that presently DNA studies are done on Arisaema and who knows what Pandora's Box will now be opened.....I can't wait..........

Thus far we have had the fantastic opportunity to have a direct link from the Araceae genera list to Roy Herold's Arisaema pages. In order not to lose attention for that fantastic site (alas no longer evolving.....) and others, here are some links:

Roy Herold's Arisaema pages
Utrecht University (NL) Botanical Garden Arisaemas
Guy Gusman´s Arisaema Tuber pages.

To be expected early this year: Pascal Bruggeman's Arisaema pages (I had a preview: you DO wanna see this soon!!!).

Wilbert Hetterscheid

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Please (do not........) send your comments to Wilbert Hetterscheid at the address here.