Arum italicum 'Pictum'
LORDS AND LADIES
Southern and Western Europe and North Africa.
Sunset zones 2-24.
USDA zones: 6-10.
Height: 10-12 inches (30-40 cm).
Width: 12-16 inches (25-30 cm).
Light pale green spathe folds over yellow spadix.
Glossy, deep green arrow-shaped foliage with white veining.
Part shade to full sun.
Humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil.
Side dress with compost or manure.
Remove seeds from outer pulp (carefully, as the pulp contains calcium oxalate crystals that are caustic -- wear gloves!), sow seeds in containers and place in a cold frame.
Divide in May to June after flowering.
Rainy Side Notes
Arums are members of the Araceae family along with our beautiful native skunk cabbage (yes, I said beautiful!) and the weird and wonderful Arisaemas. This tuberous perennial has great foliage. Mature leaves can be used in floral arangements. Don't use younger leaves as they wilt and won't work in the vase.
Following the flowers, bright orange berries appear and look like they were glued onto a stem. This is a great plant for the winter garden where its foliage can be appreciated all winter long. Best of all, the slugs don't eat the foliage, so the leaves stay fresh looking. Leaves die back to the ground, after the flower fades in the spring, and returns the following autumn.
Be careful handling the berries as the pulp contains calcium oxalate crystals. If harvesting for seed, wait until the berry is a bright red before harvesting. Plant seeds immediately as they lose their viability quickly.
Photographed in author's garden.