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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

Italian Arum

What is the species?

  • Arum italicum (Italian arum; lords and ladies)

Italian arum, a British native, is another commonly swapped species with a reputation for being extremely difficult to remove.

Why are we concerned?

There are currently no highly effective means of getting rid of Italian arum. Italian arum infestations can lead to:

  • Reduced plant and animal diversity as other species are displaced

How does it spread?

Italian arum is spread by seed, but, more importantly, through small bulblets which are easily spread in disturbed areas. The berries, which float, can also be dispersed by water. Italian arum seeds and bulblets are moved by:

  • Soil movement
  • Gardeners
  • Running water

What does it look like?

Italian arum has dark green, waxy leaves with white stripes. It is a perennial that commonly reaches 12-15 inches; in late summer it produces small clumps of orange berries.

Are there any lookalikes?

Out of the flowering season, Italian arum can be confused with other members of the Arum family, particularly calla lilies. In flower, of course, those plants are unlikely to be mixed up.

How do we deal with it?

  • Manual: Digging up Italian arum is time-consuming and requires careful attention to detail, as well as regular monitoring. Manual management is only recommended on small patches. Excavated soil and bulbs should be go in the trash, not in compost or yard debris.
  • Herbicide: No effective herbicide treatments are known.

How can folks help?

Italian arum is not a species that the city is currently managing on private property. Private property holders are, however, strongly encouraged to manage and properly dispose of Italian arum. Do not trade this species with other gardeners.