Arum Species, Italian Arum, Large Cuckoo Pint, Lord and Ladies

Arum italicum

Family: Araceae (a-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Arum (AIR-um) (Info)
Species: italicum (ee-TAL-ih-kum) (Info)
Synonym:Arum italicum subsp. italicum
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Good Fall Color


Foliage Color:



12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama

Smiths, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Garfield, Arkansas

CARLOTTA, California

Chico, California

Clovis, California

Encinitas, California

HOOPA, California

Lodi, California

Menlo Park, California

Merced, California

Monterey, California

Sacramento, California

Santa Clara, California

Santa Cruz, California

Sonoma, California

Ukiah, California

Walnut Creek, California

Clifton, Colorado

Shelton, Connecticut

Atlanta, Georgia

Ashley, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Mackinaw, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Independence, Kansas

Barbourville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Paris, Kentucky

Richmond, Kentucky

Bossier City, Louisiana

Adamstown, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

Fallston, Maryland

Takoma Park, Maryland

Roslindale, Massachusetts

South Deerfield, Massachusetts

Royal Oak, Michigan

Yale, Michigan

Clinton, Mississippi

Marietta, Mississippi

Piedmont, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Omaha, Nebraska

Brooklyn, New York

Medina, New York

New York City, New York

Red Hook, New York

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Greensboro, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina(2 reports)

Cincinnati, Ohio(2 reports)

Cleveland, Ohio(2 reports)

Columbus, Ohio

Coshocton, Ohio

Fort Jennings, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Grove City, Ohio

Owen Sound, Ontario

Dallas, Oregon

Gold Hill, Oregon

Portland, Oregon(4 reports)

Salem, Oregon

Springfield, Oregon(2 reports)

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Emmaus, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Willow Street, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, South Carolina

Laurens, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Manchester, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Dallas, Texas(2 reports)

Magna, Utah

Arlington, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Herndon, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Locust Dale, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

Bellevue, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Sequim, Washington

Canvas, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 30, 2021, Ampub from Monterey, CA wrote:

This plant is the bane of my life for the past three years. I bought a house where it was in half the yard and invading neighbors yard. For THREE YEARS I have been going out every day and digging them up the first day they begin to appear, continuing until they die back. I’m talking EVERY SINGLE MORNING. I could dig them up in the evening too—they come up that fast and never stop. They shade out and kill every other plant. They support no other life forms—nothing eats them or pollinates with them. They are a dead zone and every part of them is poisonous. I’ve dug up literally millions of them, thrown out hundreds of yard bags of them. It should be illegal to plant them.I have hand injuries now from battling them and have to wear plastic braces. Any soil near them that is moved to anoth... read more


On Dec 24, 2021, weedsfree from Magna, UT (Zone 7a) wrote:

For now, it is doing very well. Even at the end of December. Transplanted it in March 2021 into black pots on the north side of the house. Was previously in the ground by the front yard sidewalk so it was in full sun. Never did well there. It would leaf out in the summer but leaves were small and they died by the time autumn came. In the pots in shade, they grew well and leaves got very large earlier on in the year. Leaves are still on the plant as if they were evergreen. We have had winter temps cold enough to kill. I still have never seen them bloom at my house.


On Apr 10, 2021, Clint07 from Bethlehem, PA wrote:

A great plant for the large, dark green, arrowhead shaped leaves and for the colorful cob of berries that the spadix turns into in the fall. The variety 'Marmoratum' has prominent white veining. Stays green all winter in my Zone 6, but in very cold weather the leaves sag. When the temperature rises, they perk back up. In my yard it spreads very gradually, not so much as to be a problem.


On Jun 14, 2019, FishermanBay from LOPEZ ISLAND, WA wrote:

I would like to add my voice to previous commentators who urge others not to grow this awful plant. I live in W. Washington and we cannot eradicate it from our community, in spite of persistent efforts. It seemed to be a benign ornamental in the past, but 10 years or so it began to escape and has now taken over a number of gardens and a lovely 2-acre public preserve, where it is now the dominant plant. Mowing and burning (safely in winter,) have just made it thrive. Careful digging of plant, roots, corms/tubers in small patches can slow it down a bit, but 5 years have gone by and my 4 small to medium patches are still going strong. I dig annually, then cover it with layers of cardboard and a foot or more of mulch--and wait for the leaves to sprout again in the fall. I've kept it from s... read more


On Apr 8, 2015, calexander1955 from Claverack, NY wrote:

About 45 years ago, my parents planted a small clump of Arum italicum in a large wooded area of their central Kentucky yard. Over the years they also planted 30-40 species of native wildflowers that now blanket this grove every spring. For about 30 years, the Arum charmed everyone. Now? Not at all. In fact, A. italicum has become such a menace that in another 20 years none of those native wildflowers will be left. It will be a pure stand of Arum. I've tried digging it out but it's deeply rooted and it's impossible to capture the 100's of small bulbs. Weed-eating hasn't worked. Spraying with Glycophosphate hasn't worked. Our State forester researched the problem and gave me several articles but concluded there was not a known method of killing it. Another commenter mentioned Speedzone: I'll... read more


On Oct 29, 2012, bluethumb3 from South Deerfield, MA wrote:

I have had a positive experiance with this plant in my zone 5b garden in full sun, and well drained loam about 4" deep Planted it 4 years ago, bloomed the second year, has stayed in a 18" patch, and grows to about 15" tall. Comes up in October kinda goes into limbo for the winter and continous to grow in spring,flowers in mid June,dies back in August, and starts all over again in October


On Oct 8, 2012, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A beautiful plant that I find isn't invasive here in Boston Z6a. It IS invasive in the southeast and on the west coast, where it's a threat to the environment. It's also been reported to be invasive in the mid-Atlantic states italicum 2012 NCRE...

I've grown it in moist garden soil for over fifteen years, and in that time the clumps have gotten fuller but not much wider. This plant isn't aggressive in my garden. Hardy herbaceous plan... read more


On Sep 25, 2012, smithville from Willow Street, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

All invasive plants can be planted in a large pot, then submerge the pot into soil.


On Aug 12, 2012, shanghaifanny from Cleveland, OH wrote:

I've lived in my little lakeside cottage on the shoreline of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio for 23 years. My yard is very shady and the soil is mostly clay-like. This summer (2012) we have our first Italian Arum stalk (just one) in 15 years. I love this plant and wish it were invasive in my yard. More than one plant every 15 years would be a delight. Does anyone have any suggestions how I might encourage another one of these plants (or more) to grow? Last winter was very mild and those lovely arrowhead-like leaves were present and quite hardy. Do the orange berries drop and reseed another plant? I'm no green thumb, but I'm willing to learn what I need to do to grow more of these cool Italian Arum plants.


On Apr 9, 2012, Bohlenn from Ukiah, CA wrote:

I believe this plant came into my garden through horse manure or commercial mushroom compost. I'm convinced it's spreading underground, possibly along the bindweed network that underlies my garden. It has multiplied about a hundred-fold since last year, so this year I've undertaken a zero-tolerance policy and am digging up every blasted corm. I also think that it only takes one cell of this thing to clone itself, although I'm sure I'm missing some of the tiny corms when I remove the big ones, because they attach dirt to themselves and just look like little dirt balls. Nasty stuff! I'm finally realizing that I can't put it into the green bins, because the green bins go to our local composting plant, and I'd just be spreading misery all over town. Do not let this spread any more in Cal... read more


On Jul 15, 2011, delbertyoung56m from Medina, NY wrote:

Planted Italian Arum 10 years ago and it is not invasive in Medina, NY. It grows exactly where orignally planted and has gotten larger, but has not invaded its neighbors. It is in part to full shade, and the leaves are green even in the winter, when the snow is moved aside.


On Jul 13, 2011, cabngirl from Sonoma, CA wrote:

Yep, it's invasive! Yep, it's very pretty. Which side of the coin depends on circumstances but you will have been warned if you saw this page. I've enjoyed the plant over the years and never had as much trouble with it as I've had with other invaders-
I've had more invasion issues from it's cousin the Voodoo Lilly, lamium galeobdolon luteum, viola odorata, hypericum (not sure which I have but it's taking over) to name a few culprits. I seem to have managed to inherit a swelling army of notorious invaders over the years. It would be funny if it wasn't such a drag.
I have liked italian arum for giving a lush tropical look to dry shade but wouldn't plant voluntarily it if I was concerned about escapes or inundation. [Sonoma CA]


On Jul 11, 2011, cfsmisc from Seattle, WA wrote:

I tried for 7 or 8 years to eradicate this beautiful, but invasive plant, but it thrived and spread where it had not grown before. I sifted soil, removing what bulbs I could see. I burned emerging shoots methodically. I tried many sprays. Finally a commercial gardener suggested SpeedZone. I have used this two years and now am winning the battle. I have allowed only one patch of Arum italicum in our yard because my wife likes it for flower arrangements. This patch is surrounded by concrete and cannot escape. And I do not allow the seeds to escape. I cut them down during the summer after the leaves have died back. New leaves emerge in the fall or winter to repeat the cycle. If you do want to grow them, plant them in stainless steel or concrete and don't allow them to escape. Put a warning on... read more


On Jun 27, 2011, cmhhehe from Richmond, KY wrote:

I have beautiful leaves, but the flower, will not complete and no red berries, I replanted in another area and it still will not bloom. It still came up in the original spot. How do I get this to bloom?. It needs a lot of water or the leaves curl. This plant was first planted in 2005.


On Jun 24, 2010, Wisee from Batesville, AR wrote:

We live in Arkansas where this corm was already planted in one spot in the yard by the previous homeowners. At first we liked it, as it was the only planted plant that was green even on the coldest winter days. Last year I decided I didn't want to let the green-turning-red corn cob-like seed heads to replant themselves, so I cut them off with pruning sheers. OUCH! My skin started prickling and itching and the effects lasted over an hour or more. One of the reviewers said this was the chemical, calcium oxylate. Interesting. I would be worried about children getting their hands on these alluring seed heads. I decided I didn't want this plant in the yard, so when the leaves reappeared in the autumn, I sprayed them with RoundUp, but they resprouted some months later. So, now it is lat... read more


On Jun 2, 2010, toughcheesesmallpaws from Cincinnati, OH wrote:

We are in Ohio and I'm curious about this plant. After buying our first house we're finding all sorts of volunteer plants in our yard from muscari, to daffodils, the morning glories that have taken over the side of the yard, three types of ivy, to the balding cypress that my husband thought was dead until it suddenly sprouted green, to the myriad of rose bushes that had been hacked down and are trying to grow again to this plant that took us forever to identify.

I think it's neat looking and I want more of a green yard that I don't have to fuss too much with. Right now it's taken up residence along our back fence and seems pretty tame. It's only in a small 3 foot patch and seems to have it's leaves dying down (is that normal) with the berry stalks just starting to green.... read more


On Apr 2, 2010, hermero from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

When we moved to this property about 18 years ago, Arum appeared in a few places and I thought it was nice to have green sprouting in late winter. Now it's multiplying on a grand scale. I,m now removing all seed heads before they turn orange. I've tried digging, but can never get all the baby corms. Tried Roundup which will kill the leaves if the weather stays dry enough, but the next year's growth seems just as strong. I just read a suggestion on another site about adding detergent and liquid fertilizer to the Round up which I may try this year. Anyone with a certain method for removal, please post it. FYI:This is on the invasive list for Oregon.


On Mar 4, 2010, angelclaw from Sacramento, CA wrote:

I have several of these growing in a bed with geraniums, roses, calla lilies and naked ladies. There are a few more in my backyard under a meyer lemon tree. I haven't had any problems with it being invasive - the geraniums are far worse in that regard. I almost never water it and the ones in the geranium bed get full sun all summer long. The one under the lemon tree gets more shade, water and even Miracle-Gro but it hasn't spread much either. I don't know if it's the hot, dry summers or something in the soil but I don't seem to have the same problems with this plant that plague my fellow CA gardeners.


On Feb 13, 2010, nolansland from Santa Clara, CA wrote:

Good grief. My neighbor told me about this little-shop-of-horrors of a plant a few years ago, encouraging me to dig it up and dispose of it immediately if I ever saw it. Had I heeded his warning then, I would not be dealing with the mass infestation I have now. This afternoon I decided to start getting rid of it in earnest.

Add me to the list of disgruntled CA gardeners with this cuckoo of an arum.

At least it's more enjoyable to those in other parts of the country. Maybe I'll list it for trade...hmmm.


On Jul 9, 2009, dianejnichols from Longmont, CO wrote:

I am going to try this plant in Firestone, Colorado. Last winter we visited the Denver Botanical Garden specifically to see what was green in winter. We found Arum Italicum with beautiful green leaves and the full clusters of orange-red berries just beautiful. I believe DBG is in Zone 5, as are we. Will post again with what success (or not) that we have with it here. I doubt that I have to worry about its invasiveness in this zone.


On Jul 23, 2008, sben451 from Anniston, AL wrote:

Interesting foliage in cooler months. Colorful seed pods after blooming. Has spread somewhat in my flower bed, but I don't consider it invasive.


On May 14, 2008, stormyla from Norristown, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

It behaves wonderfully in my shade garden. I've had no growth outside of the clumps. I love the green all winter. I'm in the Philadelphia area. My freinds who live 40 minutes south of here in New Jersey are thrilled to have me come dig theirs up as it pops up everywhere in their beds.


On Feb 7, 2008, stapeliad from Lodi, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

It is highly invasive in my backyard. Difficult to get rid of, since tubers, or parts of tubers start new plants. Otherwise, it is an attractive plant.


On Dec 9, 2007, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I feel the pain of those of you in the more temperate areas.
I saw several areas in CA that were overrun w/ it.

Here in Ohio though it's very mild mannered.
In fact too mild mannered here.
I'm having trouble getting it to spread.
It makes a great succession plant.
I have it in a bed w/ Jack-in-the Pulpit, Mayapple (very invasive but so impressive in spring) and Hosta.
So we get a 4 season display.


On Jul 11, 2007, wonderearth from Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have this growing in my flower beds and it is a pain. I have had some success eradicating it by digging it up carefully so as not to leave any bulblets. It is a very vigorous plant here. It has even popped up in my potted plants!


On Jun 30, 2007, Lady_fern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

It sounds like this plant should be avoided in the warmer zones. Here in zone 6 it behaves quite nicely. It stays in a clump and multiplies slowly like any plant would. Of course, I'm growing it under a pine tree and a maple tree and in pure clay soil, so the conditions are far from ideal. Maybe its robust nature helps it thrive where other plants have suffered. I love the stalks of berries in summer and the foliage in winter. I don't mind it going dormant in the summer because I'd rather have the foliage in the winter anyway!


On Aug 29, 2005, Scorpioangel from Gold Hill, OR (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant will grow anywhere. It can be invasive, spread by bulbets, seed, moles, gophers, and squirrels. Nothing eats on them. Wonderful foliage for the winter months. Great Orange color when seeds ripen in late summer.


On Apr 18, 2005, futhark from Witter Springs, CA wrote:

Avoid at any cost!! Ever since moving to my present home on 2 1/2 acres 18 years ago, I have watched Arum italicum extend its coverage, displacing even crabgrass. This is in spite of all the hours I have spent each spring chopping down every single blossom and disposing of every single seed pod I could find. It flourishs in under the big oaks and grows to a couple of feet high in the spring. The leaf petioles and blades are semi-succulent and are filled with tiny crystals of calcium oxylate, visible in a high-power microscope. The calcium oxylate effectively deters any insect or other herbivore from eating the plants and, if you handle them, will make the skin between your fingers itch, much like fiberglas. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! DO NOT SPREAD THIS PEST!!


On Mar 1, 2005, Zuzu from Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

One of my neighbors planted one arum bulb about 30 years ago. The entire neighborhood is infested with it now. It is impossible to kill. Round-up won't kill it. When you try to dig it up, you release all of the tiny bulblets attached to the big one, and you end up with 50 plants where you once had one. I haven't seen my azaleas bloom for years. The arum is taller than the azalea. The arum dies down in March, allowing me to reclaim my garden, but by then the azaleas are finished blooming. One of my neighbors kept mowing it for four years and finally killed it, but that's impossible to do if it's in your flower beds. Another neighbor actually sold his house to get away from it. Please use caution planting this, and make sure you really love it, because it might be the only thing in... read more


On Jul 30, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

My zone 4b/5a garden was too cold for it. I planted half a dozen bulbs in a sheltered shady area. The first year, only one came up. After that, none survived. I have grown other arums successfully in the same area, including black dragon and basic Jack-in-the-pulpit.


On Jun 7, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Those flowers are too cool to go without! Foliage provides something to look at during the bleak winter months, along with the seed stalks.


On Apr 22, 2003, Zanymuse from Scotia, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

When planted in a bed with improved soil it crowded almost everything else out and was almost impossible to irradicate.


On Sep 22, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A good companion for hostas; when the hostas die back in the fall, Arum will produce leaves repeating the shape of the dormant hostas, and remain green all winter. Plants produce white spathes of flowers in late spring, then go dormant as the hostas re-emerge. The berries form after the flowering is completed, and remain to provide late spring interest.


On Aug 31, 2001, Sis wrote:

Partial shade;average,well drained soil
with organic matter.
Plant in late summer or early fall.
Set the tubers into individual holes or
larger planting areas dug 2-3inches(5-7.5cm)
deep. Space the tubers 8-12inches(20-30cm)
apart. Keep the soil moist during leaf
growth and flowering.

Propagation:Divide in early fall;otherwise,
allow plants to form handsome clumps.