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Arum italicum

Arum italicum  • 

Photo: Arum italicum

Arum italicum
Photo: Arum italicum
Photo: Arum italicum

General description

Common Name: Italian arum
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Native Range: Southern and western Europe
Garden Location: Kemper Center Landscape, Jordan Charitable Foundation Ornamental Shade Garden and Overlook
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Color: White
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flowers: Showy Flowers
Fruit: Showy Fruit (
Tolerates: Wet Soil, Dense Shade
Uses: Rain Garden, Will Naturalize
Invasive: Where is this species invasive in the US?


Best grown in medium moisture, consistently moist, humusy, organically rich soils in part shade to full shade. Not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where it should be planted in a protected location. New leaves emerge in autumn and are evergreen in warm winter climates. However, in cold winter climates such as the St. Louis area, the leaves die in winter with new leaves emerging in early spring. In all climates, foliage goes dormant in summer.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This arum, sometimes commonly called Italian arum, is a tuberous stemless woodland species native to Europe. Typically grows 12-18" (30-40 cm) tall. It resembles our native Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema tryphyllum). Each flower consists of (1) an erect, finger-like spadix covered with minute, creamy white flowers and (2) a large, sheath-like, light green spathe (bract) which subtends and partially envelops the spadix like a hood. Flowers produced in spring. Arrowhead-shaped, long-petioled, glossy grayish-green leaves with pale green midribs are 8-12" long. After bloom, the leaves and spathe die back leaving only the thick spadix which develops attractive, bright orange-red berries in summer. New leaves emerge in autumn and remain evergreen in warm winter climates but die back in cold winter climates such as St. Louis where they emerge again in early spring. All parts of this plant are toxic.


No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage goes dormant in summer.

Garden Uses

Woodland gardens and shaded border areas.


30 - 40 cm
Partial shade, Full shade
Moist but well-drained