Arisaema nepenthoides has proved the most reliable of the well-named cobra lilies in my garden. An Asian woodlander, it stages an exciting spring ambush in the shadows, rearing up almost 3ft high, and displaying its broad hood on a stout mottled stem. It wants good drainage and cool, moist conditions (with me, it gets equal parts soil-based ericaceous compost, shredded pine bark and lime-free grit); soil should be acid to neutral.

Some of its arum cousins attract flies and give off disgusting smells, but this one seems benign. Now that I have tested its reliability, I shall be adding more next spring, hoping to conjure up a little forest of them among the ferns and upturned tree stumps of my raised bed. Z5.

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