Our old house was built in 1894, and it came with an heirloom bulb “collection.” Thousands of daffodils still crowd the edges of the paths and drive, the old orange daylily still lines the ditches, and several clumps of this old favorite, the old fashioned Arum lily, come back every fall at the base of our oak trees.
Arum italicum is rarely noticed except this time of year. Fresh, bright green leaves with beautiful silver veining have emerged in these last weeks. Old clumps can be a yard or more across, the individual leaves a foot or more in length. Paula uses the leaves in her winter flower arrangements.
Blooming in midwinter to spring, blooms resemble a pale, folded paper pouch. By summer, a cluster of red berries has replaced the bloom, and the leaves have disappeared (this is referred to as summer dormancy). Chipmunks bury the seeds at the base of trees, and what they don’t eat germinate and eventually form new colonies.