“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”
- Georgia O’Keeffe
- Georgia O’Keeffe
Wit varkoor (Afrikaans); intebe (Xhosa) ihlukwe (Zulu)
Family: Araceae (Arums, Anthurium, Caladium and Philodendron)
The faintly scented flowers attract a multitude of crawling insects and bees, which pollinate the flowers in exchange for food, each one in its own way. The white crab spider, for instance, visits the flower to eat the insects. It does not spin webs, but makes good use of its paleness as an effective camouflage in the spathe.
Porcupines are crazy about the large rhizomes and will savagely destroy whole colonies of arum lilies. The good thing is that thanks to this brutal pruning, the plants regenerate fresher than ever with the most amazing flowers. If I had porcupines, it would be worth the massacre!
My Arums look like the porcupines have been at it, but it's only the chickens!
The common arum is found from the Western Cape through the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and into Limpopo Province in South Africa. It is evergreen or deciduous depending on the habitat and rainfall regime. In the Western Cape it is dormant in summer and in the summer rainfall areas it is dormant in winter. It will remain evergreen in both areas if growing in marshy conditions which remain wet all year around.
Although called the arum lily, it is neither an arum (the genus Arum) nor a lily (genus Lilium). But it is associated with the lily as a symbol of purity and these elegant flowers have graced many bridal bouquets.
Arum lilies in my garden done in watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Maree©