Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #23 Lords and Ladies or Cuckoo Pint

Arum maculatum

This is a woodland flower you probably won’t want to smell (pdf), although it is quite beautiful in its way. It has many English local names, mostly referring to its unusual appearance in flower or fruit, including Jack in the Pulpit, Friar’s Cowl and Bobbins, this last after the bright red and highly toxic fruit later in the season.

The actual flowers are hidden below the structure you can see in the photo above, being quite small and with a smell that attracts flies to pollinate them.

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3 thoughts on “Wildflowers of Bradlaugh Fields #23 Lords and Ladies or Cuckoo Pint

  1. Hi Jeff, thanks for your comment, and congratulations on being the first here!

    I agree, a wonderful family altogether. On our allotments at Broadmead one plot-holder grows something that looks like an aroid, in a polytunnel, for the stems (about 4ft tall) I gleaned. Maybe something like Xanthosoma sagittifolium?

    http://manoa.hawaii.edu/botany/plants_of_micronesia/index.php/full-database/513-xanthosoma-sagittifoliun3

    Don’t suppose you’ve ever ventured eating our very own English version of Taro, have you? I’ve never risked it, from lack of knowledge and confidence on how to prepare it, and never met anyone who could reliably claim to have tried it.

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    • No, I think it would be far too poisonous to eat, even if carefully prepared. However the tubers were used as a source of starch for the laundry industry right into at least the 19th century.

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