In botany it is known by the name Arum Italicum, although this plant is commonly called wild calla or gigaro. We are talking about a poisonous herbaceous plant that is not rarely used as an ornament both in the garden and in pots. Let’s see together everything there is to know about this particular plant.
From the point of view of exposure, Arum Italicum prefers shady or at most semi-shaded environments.
Gigaro is not a plant that can stand the cold and low temperatures. To cultivate this plant it is good to use a soft, drained soil rich in organic substances.
Watering this plant is not particularly tiring: Arum Italicum, in fact, is a plant that is satisfied with rain and therefore should not be watered frequently.
The only precaution to have from this point of view is during the warm seasons, especially in periods when it rains little. For fertilization, the advice is to administer a fertilizer for flowering plants in liquid form or a slow-release granular fertilizer during the spring season.
Diseases and treatments
Being a rustic and wild plant, Arum Italicum is not afraid of many parasites. On the contrary, it is very subject to water stagnation which, in the long run, can cause the roots to rot. In any case, there are two pests to keep under control: the cottony cochineal and the spider mite. To eliminate these two parasites, the advice is to use a cotton swab with alcohol and water; in the most serious cases, however, it is advisable to purchase a natural pesticide.
The scientific name Arum derives from the Greek Aron which means heat. The choice of the name is not accidental: this plant, in fact, when it is in full bloom it can emit heat. Italicum, on the other hand, derives from the locality of its first findings.
Like many plants, Arum Italicum also has a history of symbolism and superstition. In Abruzzo, for example, tradition states that the Gigaro is able to keep evil spirits away, to protect newborn children and to give love to the most unfortunate.
In ancient times, the starch extracted from its roots was used to starch the tissues. The rhizome of this plant was also used in medicine for its beneficial properties, in particular for its purgative and expectorant properties. Remember that it is a poisonous plant: ingesting the berries can be very dangerous, especially in children.