Arisarum proboscideum

Common Name: mouse plant 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Native Range: Italy, Spain
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Maroon and white
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 7. Grow in sheltered locations in USDA Zone 6. Best grown in humus-rich, moist but well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Needs consistent moisture. Does poorly in heavy clay soils. Plant tubers about 3-4" deep. May spread to form colonies over time. Propagate by seed or division. Plants go dormant in summer after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Arisarum proboscideum is a small tuberous-rooted woodland perennial in the Arum family. It is native to shady woodlands in Spain and Italy. It is closely related to the jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) which is native to eastern North America. Arrowhead-shaped green leaves (to 6" long) on long petioles rise directly from the ground to form a low-spreading carpet. Maroon and white flowers with unusual tail-like tips appear in spring, but are usually hidden by the much taller leaves. The flowers (spadix) are enclosed within a hooded dark purplish brown spathe (to 2" long) that tapers into a 6-inch long tail. Propagation is by insects (e.g., fungus gnats) which are lured into the spathe through a tiny opening at the end of the tail. Once inside, the trapped insects transfer pollen from male to female flowers as they fight to escape.

Genus name comes from the Greek word arisaronused for Arisarum vulgare.

The flower structure purportedly resembles a long-tailed mouse, hence the common name of mouse plant.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Plant in groups. Best left undisturbed in shady woodland gardens, shady areas of rock gardens or wild gardens. Good for shady areas around the house including along walks where the hidden flowers can be easily inspected and enjoyed close up.