Funny how things appear when we talk about them. I found an Arum palaestinum mysteriously lurking in my nursery stock yesterday and I brought it home to show my daughter, Lillian. She and I had a discussion last fall about acquiring some black voodoo lilys and other exotic lilys. We never did get around to buying them but here is one that just appeared ‘spontaneously’ in my nursery stock. It was in with the white calla lilys.
The Arum palaestinum is very exotic looking and has a velvety purely black spathe with a black hood. It has arrowhead shaped leaves typical of Arums. The outer portion of the hood was green speckled before it opened to reveal the black spathe. It originated in the Middle East; Israel, Jerusalem, Palestine; the Holy Land. It grows wild in the cooler mountainous areas. Its common names are: Black Calla Lily, Solomon’s Lily, Priest’s Hood, and Palestine Arum. It has a strong odor of fermenting grapes or other rotting fruit; vinegary, pungeant and not very pleasant. It is quite a striking eye catcher and nose catcher. Its also an interesting conversation piece. In researching the plant I found some indication of experimental medicinal use to prevent cancer. How they’d administer it would be the trick because its poisonous. I think it’s a perfect outdoor plant for Lompoc, Ca. I planted this one in my backyard.