brave little Arum

This single Arum leaf grew up from a tuber among sorrel and dandelions in an area that used to be heavily sheltered and shaded by a dense bush. When the bush was removed, whatever leaves the Arum used to have were also destroyed and removed – and I never noticed them, if they were there.

Arums are related to the familiar white calla lilly, Zantedeschia aethiopica which is commonly seen in gardens in California, and frequently used in bouquets for weddings and funerals. Arums are usually smaller and have similar but less showy flowers. Many of them make up for this relative inconspicuousness by bearing gorgeous, bright red or yellow berries once the flowers fade. Sadly, the berries are poisonous, to people at least.

This Arum could be Italian lords and ladies, A. italica or maybe I. maculatum, both European species escaped from cultivation throughout the Americas.

Typically this kind of Arum grows in damp, shady places. With the newly bright sunshine in this spot, it will be interesting to see if this brave little plant is able to thrive. Some good news is that there is a Leonotus bush just sunward that promises to grow and provide some shade.

If it does well, there will eventually be one or more flowers. I’ll be watching!

See Arum maculatum at the Wikipedia page. See Italian lords and ladies (what a great name!) in many cultivated varieties at aroid.org.

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