Italian Arum (Arum italicum)
Updated: Feb 8, 2021
Through our new virtual programming series, Nature in your Neighborhood, we challenged volunteers to go out into their neighborhoods or backyards to see what plants sparked their interest. Whether plants are native or non native, we can all appreciate a connection to nature and the curiosity that it can spark!
By: Nicholas Kong
Italian Arum, also known as Italian lords-and-ladies, is an invasive plant with dark green leaves and white veins. It was originally introduced from the Mediteranean as an ornamental plant, but it has since invaded many open woodland areas. Once established, Italian Arum becomes extremely difficult to control. Reproduction occurs very easily by seed or bulblets, which are produced by the roots and break off in the soil to form new plants. I found the plant growing in my backyard, where it probably spread from someone else’s yard nearby. Italian Arum flowers in the spring and produces stalks of bright orange-red berries which contain the seeds. The leaves, which die back when the stalks are produced, reemerge in autumn and stay green throughout the winter in warmer climates.
All parts of the Italian Arum are poisonous for both humans and wildlife. Skin contact with the plant can also cause skin irritation. Now that I know that this plant in my backyard is invasive and poisonous, I will try to remove it and leave behind no part of it underground for it to regrow from.