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Arum

Araceae

Attractively veined, arrow-shapedleaves grow from tubersin fall or winter. In spring, shortstalks bear curious, often malodorous,callalike blooms featuringa bract (spathe) that halfencloses a thick, fleshy spike(spadix) set with tiny flowers.These blossoms are followed bydense clusters of fruit, typicallybright red, that look like littleears of corn and persist afterleaves have died to the ground.Use this plant in shady flowerborders or as a tropical-lookinggroundcover.

Plant tubers in well-drained soilin late summer or early fall(toward the end of their dormancy),setting them 8–12 in.apart and 4–6 in. deep. dormantplantings accept summermoisture but don’t need it.

Arum italicum ssp. Italicum 'White Winter', photo courtesy of Rob Cardillo
Arum italicum ssp. Italicum 'White Winter', photo courtesy of Rob Cardillo

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Arum italicum

Native to southern and western Europe. Foot-long leaves on leafstalks of equallength emerge in fall or early winter. Short stems carry white or greenish white (sometimespurple-spotted) flowers in spring and early summer, followed by orange-red fruits. The spathe stands erect, then folds over toconceal the short yellow spadix. Leaves die to ground after bloom. In favorable situations, plants naturalize by volunteer seedlings. ‘Marmoratum’ (‘Pictum’)has white-veined leaves.

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