← back to general cultivation


With approximately 40 species, plus the related monospecific Gymnomesium, Arum are the most widely grown of the Araceae. This is because most are reasonably hardy in the open ground at least as far as 55N, with only those from the lowlands of the most southerly regions requiring frost-free protection in winter. The majority are grown as typical summer-dormant Mediterranean plants although there are some exceptions.

A few species are associated with permanent seepages on rocky slopes (e.g., Arum concinnatum and the southerly populations of Arum italicum) and seem to benefit from not being totally dried out. There are also species from seasonally wet slopes, such as the Cretan populations of A. creticum, and the Cretan endemic A. idaeum which also seem to benefit from a gentler dry season; both do well in the open garden.

One curious group of otherwise Mediterranean species occur in seasonally wet meadows (A. palaestinum, A. hygrophilum, and A. sintensiii), but require a thorough dry rest. These three definitely require frost free conditions, especially the latter two which begin growth in September in cultivation and flower over the winter.

In Turkey there are species specialised in growing in semi-evergreen juniper-dominated scrub (A. alpinariae, A. balansanum and A. gratum), or on raised domes in otherwise marshy meadows (A. euxinum). These all do well in the garden, with A. euxinum being one of the few species that appreciates a higher proportion of humus.

The northerly-occurring species, for instance A. besserianum, A. maculatum, and A. megobrebi, and some populations of A. cylindraceum, and species along the Black Sea coast such as A. amoenum, A. byzantinum and A. elongatum are associated with moist semi-deciduous woodland. These are better grown in lightly shaded areas, for example the margins of hazel-thickets and in cultivation need somewhat shady conditions and a moderate rest. Planting in the open ground among other plants provides the ideal conditions.

Species list (P. C. Boyce, unpublished data)

Arum L.

  • Arum albispathum Steven ex Ledeb. Northeastern Crimea, Turkey to Caucasus.
  • Arum alpinariae (K. Alpinar & R.R. Mill) P.C. Boyce. Northwest Turkey.
  • Arum amoenum (Engl.) Dubovik. Northeastern Crimea, Turkey to Caucasus.
  • Arum apulum (Carano) P.C. Boyce. Southeast Italy.            
  • Arum balansanum R.R. Mill. Central west Turkey.
  • Arum besserianum Schott. Northeastern Europe into Ukraine.
  • Arum byzantinum Blume. Eastern central Balkans, extreme western Turkey.
  • Arum canariense Webb & Berth. Macaronesia.          
  • Arum concinnatum Schott. South and southwest Greece, southwest Turkey.
  • Arum conophalloides Kotschy ex Schott. 
    • Arum conophalloides var. virescens (Stapf) Bornm. & Gauba. Turkey, North Iraq, North Iran.
  • Arum creticum Boiss. & Heldr. Southeast Aegan islands, southwest Turkey.
  • Arum cylindraceum Gasp. Throughout Europe and west Asia, from Denmark to northeast Turkey.
    • Arum cylindraceum subsp. pitsyllianum Hadjik., Hand & G. Mans. Cyprus.
  • Arum cyrenaicum Hruby. Libya.            
  • Arum dioscoridis Sm. Southern Turkey, eastern-most Meditteranean islands, western Middle East.
  • Arum elongatum Steven. Northeastern Turkey, southwestern former USSR.
  • Arum euxinum R.R. Mill. Northeast Turkey.
  • Arum gallowayi, sp. nov. Photos here.
  • Arum gratum Schott. Northeast Turkey.
  • Arum hainesii Riedl. East Iraq.
  • Arum hygrophilum Boiss. Western Middle East.
  • Arum idaeum Coustur. & Gand. Crete.            
  • Arum italicum Mill. Throughout western Europe.            
  • Arum jacquemontii Blume. Southern Central Asia, Nepal, as far east as far western China.
  • Arum korolkowii Regel. North Iran to Central Asia.            
  • Arum longispathum Rchb. Northwestern Balkan penninsula.
  • Arum lucanum Cavara & Grande. South Italy, Albania.
  • Arum maculatum L. Throughout northwest and central Europe.
  • Arum maurum (Braun-Blanq. & Maire) stat. nov. ined. Northeastern Morocco.
  • Arum megobrebi Lobin, M.Neumann, Bogner & P.C.Boyce. Northeast Turkey to Transcaucasus.
  • Arum melanopus Boiss. West Syria to north Lebanon.
  • Arum neglectum (F.Towns.) Ridl. Southern Great Britain, west France, northwest Spain.
  • Arum nigrum Schott. Western Balkans. North Greece.
  • Arum orientale M.Bieb. Central & eastern Europe, northeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran.
  • Arum palaestinum Boiss. Western Middle East.            
  • Arum purpureospathum P.C. Boyce. Crete.
  • Arum rupicola Boiss. East Aegan islands, Turkey, western Middle East. 
  • Arum sintenisii (Engl.) P.C. Boyce. Cyprus.
  • Arum turcicum, sp. nov. Simi, Turkey.
  • Arum wettsteinii Hruby. Crete.

Gymnomesium Schott.

  • Gymnomesium pictum (L. f.) Schott. Corsica, Sardinia, western central Italy.
Arum megobrebi Lobin, M.Neumann, Bogner & P.C.Boyce. Photo by David Scherberich.
Gymnomesium pictum arum flower bloom inflorescence
Gymnomesium pictum L. f. the sole member of the genus Gymnomesium. In contrast to Arum it is autumn-flowering. Photo by David Scherberich.
Arum sintenisii (Engl.) P.C. Boyce. Photo by David Scherberich.
Arum hygrophilum Boiss. Photo by David Scherberich.
Arum concinnatum Schott. Photo by David Scherberich.
Arum elongatum Steven. Photo by David Scherberich.