Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Alismatales - Family: Araceae
Arum italicum is a common wildflower throughout the Mediterranean region, but is also frequently seen in gardens in Britain and other more northerly European countries where it has been cultivated.
Like other arums, this plant has long-stalked, heart-shaped leaves which are deeply veined in white or cream. The tiny flowers of arums are found on the thickened central axis of the plant, called the spadix, which is tightly wrapped in a large fleshy sheath, called the spathe. As the plant develops, the spathe opens to reveal the spadix.
The fruiting spike of Large Cuckoo Pint is long, up to 15cm, and the spadix, when revealed, is pale yellow. The spathe is pale green but sometimes flushed with purple, towards its base, on the outer side.
Like Arum creticum, the Cretan endemic, Arum italiucm flowers in April and May. It grows in moist and generally shaded habitats, making it an ideal plant for the edges of woodland streams and marshes.
The plants shown on this page were photographed in the Algarve in early April.
This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Rob Petley-Jones.