Arisarum proboscideum (L.) Savi
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.