Arum L.
  • Sp. Pl.: 966 (1753) 

Notes: Distribution: Macaronesia, Europe, Medit. to W. China

General Description

HABIT : seasonally dormant herbs, tuber hypogeal, subglobose or rhizomatous and horizontal. LEAVES : 3-4(-6) in each sympodial unit. PETIOLE : sheath long to short. BLADE : cordate (A. pictum) or hastate-sagittate to sagittate; primary lateral veins pinnate, forming submarginal collective vein, at least 1 marginal vein also present, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : 1, rarely 2 in each floral sympodium, usually appearing with leaves, rarely just before (A. pictum), hidden within foliage or fully exposed above leaves. PEDUNCLE : much shorter to much longer than petiole. SPATHE : marcescent, usually strongly constricted between tube and blade, rarely not, tube convolute, cylindric to ellipsoid, blade ovate- or oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate, ± acuminate, at anthesis erect and boat-shaped or widely expanded or patent and ± revolute. SPADIX : shorter to longer than spathe, sessile, female zone cylindric, interstice separating male and female zones usually short, rarely absent, usually covered with sterile flowers (pistillodes), rarely naked, male zone cylindric, conoid, ellipsoid or subglobose, interstice separating appendix and male zone usually covered with sterile flowers (staminodes), rarely absent, terminal sterile appendix usually stipitate, then gradually or suddenly dilated into a conoid or cylindric club, sometimes slender. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigone absent. MALE FLOWER : 3-4-androus, filaments very short but distinct, connective slender, thecae shortly obovoid, opposite or subopposite, dehiscing by apical pore-like slit, rarely porose (A. pictum). POLLEN : usually presented in a loose, powdery mass, sometimes extruded in strands (A. pictum, A.nigrum), grains inaperturate, spherical to subspheroidal, medium-sized (mean 32 µm., range 29-34 µm.), exine spinose, rarely scabrous (A. korolkowii). STERILE FLOWERS : (staminodes and pistillodes) consisting of basal, ± hemispheric, swollen, verrucose to smooth portion bearing usually one (sometimes more) erect, ± straight, subulate to filiform processes. FEMALE FLOWER : gynoecium oblong, obtuse, ovary 1-locular, ovules 6-more, orthotropous, lageniform, biseriate, funicle short, placenta parietal to subbasal, style short, as broad as ovary, stigma subhemispheric, exuding nectar drop at anthesis. BERRY : obovoid, pericarp juicy, many-seeded, bright glossy orange-red. SEED : ellipsoid to ovoid, testa rugose, especially towards base, with large, succulent obconic strophiole, embryo axile, straight, endosperm copious.

Diagnostic Description

Seasonally dormant, rhizomatous or tuberous geophytes. Leaf blade sagittate or hastate, with reticulate venation. Spadix usually with zone of sterile flowers between male and female zones, more rarely with fertile zones contiguous or with naked axis between zones; spadix with smooth terminal sterile appendix. Placentation parietal to subbasal.


Temperate and warm temperate woodland, up to 4400m alt.; geophytes, forest floor, hedges, orchards, stony open ground, along rivers, open scrub, pastures, abandoned areas.


Macaronesia, Europe, Medit. to W. China.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Africa Macaronesia Azores
  • Canary Is.
  • Madeira
  • Northern Africa Algeria
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Asia-Temperate Caucasus North Caucasus
  • Transcaucasus
  • China Tibet
  • Xinjiang
  • Middle Asia Kazakhstan
  • Kirgizistan
  • Tadzhikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Western Asia Afghanistan
  • Cyprus
  • East Aegean Is.
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Lebanon-Syria
  • Palestine
  • Turkey
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • West Himalaya
  • Europe Eastern Europe Krym
  • South European Russia
  • Ukraine
  • Middle Europe Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Switzerland
  • Northern Europe Denmark
  • Great Britain
  • Ireland
  • Sweden
  • Southeastern Europe Albania
  • Bulgaria
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Kriti
  • Romania
  • Sicilia
  • Turkey-in-Europe
  • Yugoslavia
  • Southwestern Europe Baleares
  • Corse
  • France
  • Portugal
  • Sardegna
  • Spain
Introduced into
  • Southern America Southern South America Argentina Northeast


  • 1 Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 2 Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 1-529. MIM, Deurne.
  • 3 Gardens, K.""Royal Bot World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. (2008).
  • 4 Mayo, S.J., Bogner, J. & Boyce, P.C. The Genera of Araceae. (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: 1997).

 Information From

CATE Araceae
Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 14 Dec 2011 . 17 Dec 2011.
  • A All Rights Reserved
  • B
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • C All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • D Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
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