Gigaro, breadcrumbs - Arum italicum

Gigaro, breadcrumbs - Arum italicum

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Arum italicum, also known as pan serpe, is a perennial herbaceous plant, with tuberous root, of European origin; produces a small bush of green leaves, with a glossy upper surface, trilobate, carried by a long petiole, which emerge directly from the tuber in the autumn; in April-May it produces long fleshy spasms, up to 30-50 cm tall, with a yellowish apex, on which small white flowers bloom, the spadix is ​​enclosed in a large greenish-white spathe.
During the summer months the foliage dries up and small spherical fruits develop on the spatula, similar to peas, shiny, which become orange-red when ripe. This plant is widespread in the wild also in Italy; all parts of the plant are poisonous, although the danger of ingestion by animals and children is minimal due to the foul taste. Some parts of the plant, properly treated, are used in herbal medicine and in homeopathic medicine but the plant is poisonous and can lead to heavy poisoning if ingested. In particular, the fruits, very showy due to their red color, can cause burning in the mouth if they are chewed.
Fortunately the very unpleasant smell of the berries of this plant, once chewed, quickly deters those who eat them from continuing to eat them again.

The gigaro or pan di serpea is to be placed in a semi-shady place or in the complete shade. The gigaro or pan of snake it does not fear the cold, therefore the tuber can be left to dwell even in winter, where the temperatures drop a lot below zero. In nature this plant grows especially from the plain up to 1000 meters of altitude, in humid and cool environments such as river areas and woods.In Italy, the pan di serpe is found in all regions. Its flowering takes place from March to April-May and varies depending on the climate and temperatures, with early blooms in areas where temperatures are higher and winters are milder.watering

In the spring months water sporadically, preventing the soil from drying too much. During the remaining months of the year it is possible to suspend watering. Arum italicum suffers from water stagnation and soils that remain soaked for too long. In conditions of frequent humidity the risk of diseases of the root system is high and the fungi and root rot occur more frequently.


The species of arum italicum they prefer soils rich in humus, soft and well drained; It is also possible to grow these tubers in large containers and also have them on the balcony or on the terrace. We choose a good soil without saving too much because the earth is fundamental for the growth of the plant. A good soil must be rich in organic material, have a good texture and let the water percolate well.


The species of pan of snake they multiply by division of the tufts in autumn or early spring; inside the small fruits there are fertile seeds, which can be sown as soon as the fruits are ripe.

Gigaro, pan of snake - Arum italicum: Pests and diseases

Generally the gigaro specimens are not attacked by pests or diseases and are rather rustic plants that grow without problems everywhere.