Arum italicum subsp. italicum 'Marmoratum'
Common Name: Italian arum
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Yellowish-green to creamy white spathe
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Wet Soil

Culture

Best grown in humusy, organically rich, consistently moist soils in part shade to full shade. Not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where it should be planted in a protected location. New leaves emerge in autumn and are evergreen in warm winter climates. However, in cold winter climates such as the St. Louis area, the leaves die in winter with new leaves emerging in early spring. In all climates, foliage goes dormant in summer.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Arum italicum, commonly called Italian arum, is a stemless woodland species that is native to Europe. It typically grows 12-18” tall. It somewhat resembles our native Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema tryphyllum). 'Marmoratum' (now considered synonymous with 'Pictum') is a cultivar that features arrowhead-shaped, long-petioled, dark green to gray-green leaves (8-12” long) that are mottled and blotched, particularly along the veins, with light yellowish-green to creamy white variegation. Flowers bloom in spring. Each flower consists of (1) an erect, finger-like spadix covered with minute yellow flowers and (2) a large, sheath-like, light yellowish-green spathe (bract) which subtends and partially envelops the spadix like a hood. After bloom, the leaves and spathe die back leaving only the thick spadix which develops attractive, bright, orange-red berries in summer. New leaves emerge in autumn and remain evergreen in warm winter climates but die back in cold winter climates such as St. Louis where they emerge again in early spring. All parts of this plant are toxic. 'Marmoratum' and 'Pictum' have, over the years, been sold by many nurseries as separate plants. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) currently lists these plants as being synonymous. 'Pictum' has always been a cultivar name of suspicious validity because of the existence of the western Mediterranean species known as Arum pictum (black calla). RHS does not currently list 'Pictum' as a separate cultivar, but simply lists it as being synonymous with Arum italicum subsp. italicum 'Marmoratum'.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage goes dormant in summer.

Garden Uses

Woodland gardens and shaded border areas.