Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Whipcord Cobra Lily, Cobra Lily
Arisaema tortuosum

Family: Araceae (a-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Arisaema (air-uh-SEE-muh) (Info)
Species: tortuosum (tor-tew-OH-sum) (Info)

Synonym:Arisaema helleborifolium

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

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No positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Baa On Aug 29, 2002, Baa wrote:

A tuberous Arisaema from the Himalayas.

Has 2 to 3 pedate, mid to deep green, deeply lobed leaves. Bears tall spathes with a hood, inside the spathe is a long, curving, green or purple spadix which protrudes conspicuously from the spathe.

Flowers March-June

Needs a constantly moist but well-drained, neutral to acid soil in partial shade and a cool spot.

It's not hardy and will need frost protection such as a cool greenhouse or deep mulch in areas where the climate is milder nor will it cope with too much heat in summer.

Despite it being quite fussy as to it's growing situation, it's not too difficult to germinate and grow on. I germinated 95% of the seed I had 18 months ago on damp cotton wool in the kitchen. They have happily grown into tiny plants from the tuber they formed from their first growing season. I'm looking forward to the flowers in the next couple of years.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Artondale, Washington
Bellevue, Washington

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