Thursday, 30 August 2018

MELBOURNE WEEDS 14 - ITALIAN ARUM

Arum italicum is a species of flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the family Araceae, also known as Italian arum and Italian lords-and-ladies. It is native to the Mediterranean region (southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East) plus Great Britain, the Netherlands, Crimea, Caucasus, Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Azores. It is also naturalised in Argentina and in scattered locations in the United States.

It grows 30–46 cm high, with equal spread. It blooms in spring with white flowers that turn to showy red fruit. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant for traditional and woodland shade gardens. Subspecies italicum (the one normally grown in horticulture) has distinctive pale veins on the leaves, whilst subspecies neglectum has faint pale veins, and the leaves may have dark spots. Some gardeners use this arum to underplant with Hosta, as they produce foliage sequentially: When the Hosta withers away, the arum replaces it in early winter, maintaining ground-cover.

Numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use, of which A. italicum subsp. italicum 'Marmoratum' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Arum italicum can be invasive in some areas. Arum italicum may hybridise with Arum maculatum. In 1778, Lamarck noticed that the inflorescence of this plant produces heat.

Leaves, fruits and rhizomes contain compounds that make them poisonous. Notably, leaves are rich in oxalic acid; other active principles are present in other parts. The ingestion of berries, which are showy and red, may result fatal for babies and young children. As a general rule, avoiding consumption is advisable for adults too.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


3 comments:

  1. I wouldn't consider A. italicum to be a weed by any definition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "A weed is any plant growing in a place where it is undesired..." :-)

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    2. except if its been dumped and is growing wild by a creek bed

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