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). It is also naturalized in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Crimea, Caucasus, Canary Islands, Madeira, Azores, Argentina and in scattered locations in the United States.
It grows 30–46 cm (1–1.5 ft) 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.
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, can be fatal for babies and young children. As a general rule, avoiding consumption is advisable for adults too.
Within the genus, A. italicum belongs to subgenus Arum, section Arum.
A. italicum generally has a chromosome count of 2n = 84, except that a few subspecies (such as ssp. albispathum have 2n = 56).
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arum italicum.|
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