Arisarum vulgare

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Arisarum vulgare
Araceae - Arisarum vulgare-1.JPG
Inflorescences of Arisarum vulgare
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Arisareae
Genus: Arisarum
Species: A. vulgare
Binomial name
Arisarum vulgare

Arisarum vulgare, common name the Friar's Cowl or Larus , is an herbaceous, perennial, with an underground rhizome plant in the genus Arisarum belonging to the family Araceae.


Close-up on Arisarum vulgare

Arisarum vulgare reaches on average 10–30 centimetres (3.9–11.8 in) of height. The leaves of this geophyte plant are basal only, wide, ovate to arrow-shaped, with a petiole 12–15 centimetres (4.7–5.9 in) long. The stems are erect and unbranched, usually mottled and grow directly from the underground rhizome. A single leaflike bract (spathe) forms a purplish-brown or olive green striped tube about 5 inches long, with an open upper part helmet or hood-shaped curved forward. It encloses a fleshy greenish clublike spike (spadix) bent forward, protruding from the tube and bearing at the bottom minute purple violet flowers. The 20 male flowers are located above the four to six female, with sterile flowers completely missing. The flowering period extends from October through May. The sexes are united in the same individual plant. Pollination is granted by insects (entomophily). The fruits are greenish berries of about 1 centimetre (0.39 in)long.


This plant native to Mediterranean region of southern Europe and northern Africa, east to the Caucasus, and west to the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira.[1]


Arisarum vulgare prefers grassy fields and rocky scrubland, forests and wasteland, mainly in shady and cool places and in moist soils, at an altitude of 0–800 metres (0–2,625 ft) above sea level.


The main described subspecies are the following:

  • Arisarum vulgare O.Targ.Tozz. subsp. vulgare (above described)
  • Arisarum vulgare O.Targ.Tozz. subsp. simorrhinum (Durieu) Maire & Weiller

In Arisarum vulgare subsp. simorrhinum the flower stem is much shorter than the petioles. Bract and spadix are erect. The latter is thickened at the tip.




  • Herbaro virtual
  • Pignatti S. - Flora d'Italia - Edagricole – 1982 - Vol. II, pag. 629
  • Tutin, T.G. et al. - Flora Europaea, second edition - 1993

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