Also known as: Italian lords and ladies
Originally introduced to the Pacific Northwest as an ornamental ground cover, Italian arum escaped gardens and now grows throughout shaded natural areas. It spreads rapidly and is difficult to control. It is toxic and can cause skin irritation or illness to both people and pets.
|Life Cycle:||Perennial (life cycle lasts more than one year)|
|Early Detection and Rapid Response species:||No|
|Height:||Up to 1.5 feet (45 centimeters) tall|
|Leaf Description:||Leaves are waxy and arrowhead-shaped. They are dark green with white stripes.|
|Fruit & Flower Description:||The flowers are greenish-white, hood-like, and look like calla lily flowers. Flowers have a distinct unpleasant odor. |
After flowering, it produces berry clusters that change from green to orange-red. Berry clusters are present August to September.
|Bloom Time:||March to June|
- Italian arum grows in wet to moist habitats including forests, yards, riparian areasRiparian Areas Areas of land that occur along the edges of rivers, streams, lakes, and other bodies of water., and wetlands.
- It grows in partial to full shade, can survive in most soil types, and is drought tolerant once established.
- It is extremely difficult to control because of its ability to spread by seeds and root fragments.
- Once established, it forms dense cover which shade out native plants.
- It is toxic to touch and eat and should be kept away from kids and pets.
What you can do about it:
- Wear gloves when handling Italian arum. It contains toxic chemicals that may irritate skin.
- Manually removing Italian arum is only recommended on small infestations. Whenever digging it up, take care not to break or cut its deep, tuberous roots.
- All plant parts and nearby soil should be placed in a bag and thrown away in the trash— not your yard waste bin or home compost.
- At a minimum, cut and bag the berry clusters in August, before its seeds have a chance to spread.
Wapato (Sagittaria latifolia), a native wetland plant, is often confused with Italian arum. Wapato’s dark green leaves are similar to Italian arum’s, but they lack white stripes.
It is also confused with calla lily, (Zantedeschia aethiopica). Calla lilies look like Italian arum, but they lack white striped leaves. However, the difference is apparent once Italian arum produces berries.
Noxious Weed Listing:
|State of Oregon:||Not listed|
|State of Washington:||Class C|
Download the Italian Arum Best Management Practices Factsheet
- Pacific Northwest Weed Management Handbook: Italian arum