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Family Araceae, containing about 2,000 species, many of which are popular ornamentals and foliage plants. Native primarily to the tropics and subtropics, a few species grow in temperate zones. The genera Philodendron and Monstera are grown for their vinelike habit and large green leaves. Other arums grown ornamentally include the florist's calla lily and the water arum (Calla palustris). Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is well known in woodlands, and the foul-smelling eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) in marshes. The genus Arum contains about 15 perennial species noted for funnel-shaped bracts and glossy, arrow-shaped leaves. Sap in Arum species can be poisonous.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on arum family, visit Britannica.com.