Arum Italicum: Lords and Ladies

Arum Italicum: Lords and Ladies
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Arum Italicum: Lords and LadiesArum italicum is an unusual plant, and the thing I really like about it, is that it has something different for each season! It's large arrow shaped leaves are ornamental and appear in the fall. They remain on the plant during the winter, even when covered with snow.

In the spring the plant produces flowers, similar to jack-in-the-pulpit,with it's odd hooded blooms. In the summer it dies down until it surprises us with interesting spikes of red/orange berries. Some varieties have purple berries! As you can see, it's a very interesting plant. In some countries it's popular name is "lords and ladies".

Arum italicum is hardy in some areas of Zone 5 through Zone 10. It can grow in full shade, semi-shade or no sun, as long as it's given sufficient moisture during the growing season. The soil should be fairly fertile, and not too dry. The tubers are long and should be planted in the fall.

Evergreen boughs make a good cover when it starts to really get cold. It does take a couple of seasons for the plant to become fully established, but is worth it, so be patient. You can combine arum italicum with white varieties of daffodils and tulips, along with hostas for a striking display.

A couple of interesting notes-- wear gloves when handling the tubers, seeds or any part of the plant, which contain calcium oxylate crystals. It could cause a rash, and if chewed it produces a nasty numbing reaction. Keep this one away from the kids and teach them to leave it alone. Also, it's pollinated by house flies.

At this point, you are no doubt thinking that I am trying to talk you OUT of growing this unique plant! No, on the contrary, it's fascinating! However, Arum italicum not a plant to plant right outside the back door. Some plants are best mixed in the flower beds to add character and interest!

Image: Wikimedia.org

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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