Arum Italicum, orange candleflower, lords and ladies, cuckoo's pint, Italian lily, Italian arum, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest

Orange Candleflower

I’ve admired the fall show of Orange Candleflower for ages. I first saw the funky, candle-like seed spikes beside the front gate at Abkhazi garden. Later, KL & I admired swaths of them in a woodland at Government House garden.

Arum Italicum, orange candleflower, lords and ladies, cuckoo's pint, Italian lily, Italian arum, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Arum italicum leaves die back in the summer leaving a naked stem & seed head. Groovy, eh? Perhaps that’s why it’s sometimes called Lords & Ladies. The Lady is the shy, white, spring flower. The Lord is the seed head. His Lordship might be inconspicuous early on, but as he matures from green to bright red… he’s certainly aristocratic.

Arum Italicum, orange candleflower, lords and ladies, cuckoo's pint, Italian lily, Italian arum, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Over the years I’ve sourced Italian arum through the garden club. I carefully planted several small pots around our garden.
No joy.
The winter ephemeral leaves delight me from late autumn, right through winter & even spring…
but never flowers. 😦

Blooms are supposed to appear in May – but there’s SO MUCH going on then…. maybe I just missed them? Can I blame the deer? Word has it that Arum Lily, & all its parts, is poisonous to people & animals so my deer excuse doesn’t really fly.

Arum Italicum, orange candleflower, lords and ladies, cuckoo's pint, Italian lily, Italian arum, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

This August I was delighted to spy a stem with berries maturing in a shady spot beside our garden gate. Hooray! Don’t believe me? Take a look…. way down…. one lonely stem… It’s really there!

Arum Italicum, orange candleflower, lords and ladies, cuckoo's pint, Italian lily, Italian arum, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I crossed my fingers hoping it would soon turn the vibrant red it’s famous for. It took some time but by October it glowed!

Arum italicum is a Mediterranean perennial that’s naturalized across Britain, Europe and even parts of Australia. It’s apparently causing enough nuisance in Oregon & Washington to be listed as invasive!

Arum Italicum, orange candleflower, lords and ladies, cuckoo's pint, Italian lily, Italian arum, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

And here I am, excited about a single phallic seed stalk. It’s certainly not conquering anything in our garden.

Consulting several sources reveals these nobles cause revolts in moist environments. That’s probably why I have so little success with it – – I only drag around a water hose when it’s really needed.

I dream of seeing the Lady’s flower. Now my plan is to shift some into more favourable conditions – perhaps the hosta patch? When the hostas die back in the fall, the arum leaf will come alive.
Fingers crossed.

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