Italian Arum (orange candle flower)
The Italian Arum (orange candle flower) is truly an unusual-looking plant once it blooms. Several of these plants are growing on my property, and they've been growing here for as long as I can remember. I am unsure if someone in my family originally planted them or if they came up as volunteers. I just know they're not a plant that I would have chosen to grow. I prefer sticking with plants that I know are beneficial and this plant is anything but that.
Italian arum is a non-native perennial that was originally introduced as an ornamental plant. It is known to be native to Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. The plant is also commonly referred to as the orange candle flower or lords and ladies.
The Italian arum plant first pops up during early spring with leafy green blades that are arrowhead-shaped. The leaves are commonly white veined and sometimes have specks of white on their leaves. During the summer, the plant's leaves die off, and oblong clusters of green berries emerge. The berries will turn orangish-red shortly after. Then, in fall and early winter, the plant shoots up with green arrowhead-shaped leaves once again. The green foliage is actually really pretty in my opinion, and I can see why some people like growing the Italian arum plant in their landscaping for greenery. It can cover a wide area of ground and, since it is a perennial, it always comes back year after year.
It is said that the Italian arum plant is hard to get rid of once it's well established because it spreads rapidly. But I have watched the Italian Arums plants that are on my property over the years, and they have remained in the same areas in which they were originally. They also haven't posed a threat of being invasive on my property. However, there are some known dangers to growing Italian arum.
The dangers of growing Italian arum plants
Italian arum plants are highly toxic to pets, cattle, wildlife, and also human health, because every part of Italian arum is considered poisonous. Having skin contact with this plant can cause irritation. While eating, any part of the plant may be potentially fatal.
Parents and grandparents may want to take it into consideration that children may also be attracted to the brightly colored clusters of berries. The berries look tempting enough that little kids may want to stick them inside their mouths (especially once the berries turn orangish-red). Once the berries are in contact with the mouth, severe discomforts and illness could happen.
The Italian arum plant is considered an invasive plant in parts of the United States. Once it is established, the only way to get rid of it is by digging up the entire plant by root.
You should always wear garden gloves when handling Italian arum to avoid potential skin irritation.
Grant, B. L. (2020, July 3). How To Kill Arum Plants – Controlling Italian Arum Plants In The Garden. Gardening Know How. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/lords-and-ladies/italian-arum-control.htm
Wag. (2016, November 18). Wild Arum Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost. Wag! | Find Best Local Dog Walkers, Boarders, and Trainers. https://wagwalking.com/condition/wild-arum-poisoning
The State of Queensland 2022. (2022). Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) | QPIC. Children’s Health Queensland. https://www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/poisonous-plant-arum-lily-zantedeschia-aethiopica/#iLightbox[gallery_image_1]/0