Herbs with a creeping rhizome or corm, and an acrid or pungent juice, with the leaves simple or compound, often veiny, and the flowers mostly diclinous and naked. Inflorescence a spadix, dense-flowered, naked or mostly surrounded with a large spathe. Perianth none, or of 4 to 6 scales. Stamens hypogynous, with ovate-extrorse anthers. Ovary free, stigma sessile. Fruit baccate or dry, seeds albuminous, embryo axial. Fig. 91, 201.
Genera 46, species 240, abundant in tropical regions, more rare in temperate, one only, Calla palustris, extending to the northern frigid zone.
Properties. An acrid, volatile principle pervades the order, which is, in some instances, so concentrated as to become poisonous. The cornis and rhizomas abound also in starch, which in some cases when the volatile acridity is expelled in drying or cooking, is edible and nutricious, as in Colocasia. etc.
Fig. 709. Calla palustris, its spathe. spadix and flowers. b. One of the flowers, consisting of an ovary surrounded by six stamens, c, Cross section of the ovary.
§ Spadix enveloped in a spathe. (*)
* Flowers covering only the base of the spadix. Perianth 0........................
* Flowers covering the whole spodix, and (a)
a Monoecious. Perianth 0. Berry 1-seeded. Spathe convolute.....
a Monœcious. Per. 0. Berry 3 to 6-seeded. Spathe large, revolute, white.
a Perfect. - Perianth 0. Spanthe open, white..........................................
Perianth regula. Spathe shell-form, purplish........................
§ Spedix naked, having no spathe, - terminal, yellow............................................
- lateral; scape leaf-like....................................
i. ARISae'MA, Martins. Dragon-root. Indian Turnip. ( arum, a sign.) Spathe convolute at base, limb arched or somewhat plain; spadix covered with flowers below, naked and elongated above; flowers diclinous, achlamydeous; above the fertile, each flower consisting of 4 or more stamens with anthers opening at top; ovary 1-celled; stigmas depressed; ovules 2 to 6, orthotropous, erect from the base of the cell; berry red, 1 or few-seeded. - Scape arising from a a corm or tuberous rhizome, sheathed with petioles of the radical, veiny lvs. (Arum, L.)
1 A. triphyllum L. Jack-in-the-pulpit. Acaulescent; lvs. trifoliate, mostly in pairs, leaflets oval, acuminate; spadix clavate, obtuse; spathe ovate, acuminate, flat and inflected above. - A curious and well known inhabitant of wet woodlands, Can. to Ga. W. to the Miss. The stem is a rugous, fleshy, subterraneous conn giving off radicles in a circle from the edge. Scape 8 - 12' high, erect, round, embraced at the base by the long sheaths of the petioles. Leaflets, 2 - 7' long, 1/2 as wide. Spathe green without, usually variegated within with stripes of dark purple alternating with pale green. Spadix much shorter than the spathe, varying from green to dark purple. Fruit a bunch of bright scarlet b?rries. The corm loses its fiercely acrid principle by drying, and is then valued as a carminative, etc. Apr., Jn. (Arum, atrorubens Ait.)
2 A. quinatum. Acaulescent; lvs. with very long sheaths, in pairs one or both 'ruinate; lfts, oval-lanceolate, acuminate, narrowed at base to a short petiole or sessile; spadix long and slender, nearly inclosed in the ovate-lanceolate spathe, which is briefly inflected at the pointed apex; berry 1 to 2-seeded. - Ga. and S. Car. (Curtis.) Scape 1 to 2f high. Lvs. with long petioles and still longer sheaths. Lfts. 5 to 10' long, spathe 3 to 5' (Arum quinatum Nutt.) - Perhaps identical with A. pentaphyllum (Schott.) of India.
β. obtuso-quinatum. Lfts. rounded-obtuse, mucronate, abruptly narrowed to a long petiolule. - Georgia (Feay, Pond).
3 A. Dracontium Schott. Green Dragon. Acaulescent; If mostly solitary, pedate; lfts. 7 to 11, oblong-lanceolate; spadix subulate, longer than the convolute, oblong spathe. - Less common in N. Eng. than the former species, found in wet places, banks of streams, U. S. Stem a fleshy, subterraneous corm. Scape slender, 10' to 2f high. Leaf on an erect, sheathing petiole, which is dichotomous above, each half bearing 2 - 4 leaflets with an odd one at the fork. Leaflets 5 to 8' long, one-third as wide. Spathe green, 1 - 2' long, rolled into a tube at base. Spadix slender, with its long, tapering point much exserted. Fruit a bunch of red berries. Jn., Jl. (Arum Dracontium L)
2. PELT'ANDRA, Raf. (Gr. a shield or target, )
Spathe convolute; spadix covered with flowers, staminate above, pistillate below; perianth 0; anthers 8 to 12, attached to the margin of a peltate, oblong, connectile, and opening by a terminal pore; berry 1-celled, 1 to 3-seeded. - Rt. fibrous. Lvs. sagittate.
1 P. Virginica Raf. Acaulescent; lvs. oblong, hastate-sagittate, acute at apex, the lobes obtuse; spathe elongated, incurved, green, wavy on the margin; spadix covered with staminate flowers the greater part of its length. - A smooth, dark green plant, in wot grounds, N. Y. and Ms. to Car. Leaves radical, numerous,
8 - 12' long:, 1/2 as wide, on petioles as long as the scapes. Scapes many from the same root, 8 - 15' long. Spathe closely involving the spadix, green, 3 to 5' long, lanceolate, wavy on the margin. Spadix slender, acuminate, shorter than the spathe, its compact stamens 6-sided. Fr. a cluster of green berries inclosed in the base of the spathe after the upper part of both spathe and spadix has decayed. Jn. (Arum, L. Calla, Bw. Lecontia, Cooper, Rensselaeria, Beck, Caladium, Lindl.) 2 P. glauca Feay (M S.). Acaulescent; lvs. ovate-hastate, acute or short-acuminate, lobes broad and obtuse at end; scape as long as the leaves; spathe involute, entire, gradually evolved and widened above, acuminate, white, spadix much shorter; berries red, 1 -seeded. - Maritime parts of S. Car. and Ga. (Feay, Pond.) A smooth, glaucous plant with 1 to 3 radical lvs., and one or more slender scapes 12 to 20' high. Lvs. 5 to 7' long, with large base lobes, and a vein running close to the margin. Spathe about 3' long, spadix about 2'. Fruit smaller than in No. 1. Seeds without albumen, as in that species. May, Jn. (Caladium glaucum Ell.)