Herb latin name: Arum italicum

Synonyms: Arum modicense, Arum neglectum, Arum numidicum

Family: Araceae (Arum Family)

Edible parts of Arum italicum:

Tuber - cooked and used as a vegetable. An arrowroot can be extracted from the dried root. The root must be thoroughly dried or cooked before being eaten, see the notes above on toxicity.

Description of the plant:


40 cm
(1 foot)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Stony ground near the sea, hedges and among old walls, often on calcareous soils.

Propagation of Arum italicum:

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse or cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 6 months at 15C. Stored seed should be sown in the spring in a greenhouse and can be slow to germinate, sometimes taking a year or more. A period of cold stratification might help to speed up the process. Sow the seed thinly, and allow the seedlings to grow on without disturbance for their first year, giving occasional liquid feeds to ensure that they do not become mineral deficient. When the plants are dormant in the autumn, divide up the small corms, planting 2 - 3 in each pot, and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for a further year, planting out when dormant in the autumn. Division of the corms in summer after flowering. Larger corms can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up the smaller corms and grow them on for a year in a cold frame before planting them out.

Cultivation of the herb:

Stony ground near the sea, hedges and among old walls, often on calcareous soils.

Medicinal use of Arum italicum:

None known

Known hazards of Arum italicum:

The plant contains calcium oxylate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten, but they are easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.