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Arum maculatum
Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum) is a common arum in British woodlands
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Areae
Genus: Arum
Species: A. maculatum
Binomial name
Arum maculatum
L.

Arum maculatum is a common woodland plant species of the Araceae family. It is widespread across temperate northern Europe and is known by an abundance of common names including Wild arum, Lords and Ladies, Jack in the Pulpit, Devils and Angels, Cows and Bulls, Cuckoo-Pint, Adam and Eve, Bobbins, Naked Boys, Starch-Root and Wake Robin.

The purple spotted leaves appear in the spring (April-May) followed by the flowers borne on a poker shaped inflorescence called a spadix. The purple spadix is partially enclosed in a pale green spathe or leaf-like hood. The flowers are hidden from sight, clustered at the base of the spadix with a ring of female flowers at the bottom and a ring of male flowers above them. Above the male flowers is a ring of hairs forming an insect trap. Insects, especially Psychoda spp., are trapped beneath the ring of hairs and are dusted with pollen by the male flowers before escaping and carrying the pollen to the spadices of other plants, where they pollinate the female flowers. The spadix may also (see the picture) be yellow, but purple is the more common.

In autumn the lower ring of (female) flowers forms a cluster of bright red berries which remain after the spathe and other leaves have withered away. These attractive orange berries are extremely poisonous. The berries contain oxalates of saponins which have needle-shaped crystals which irritate the skin, mouth, tongue, and throat, and result in swelling of throat, difficulty breathing, burning pain, and upset stomach. However, their acrid taste coupled with the almost immediate tingling sensation in the mouth when consumed mean that large amounts are rarely taken and serious harm is unusual. It is one of the most common causes of accidental plant poisoning based on attendance at hospital A & E departments.[1]

The Arum lily's attractive cluster of poisonous berries

The root-tube may be very big and is used to store starch. In mature specimens the tuber may be as much as 400 mm below ground level.

1. Leaves and Inflorescence, 2. Underground root-stock, 3. Lower part of spathe cut open - showing in succession (from below) female flowers, male flowers, and sterile flowers forming a ring of hairs borne on the spadix, 4. Spike of fruits.

All parts of the plant can produce allergic reactions in many people and the plant should be handled with care. Many small rodents appear to find the spadix particularly attractive and it is common to find examples of the plant with much of the spadix eaten away. The spadix produces heat and probably scent as the flowers mature and it may be this that attracts the rodents.

Arum maculatum is also known as the cuckoo pint in the British Isles and is named thus in Nicholas Culpepers' famous 16th Century herbal. This is a name it shares with Arum italicum (Italian Lords-and-Ladies) - the other native British Arum.

Uses

The root of the cuckoo pint, when roasted well, is edible and when ground was once traded under the name of Portland sago. It was used like salop or salep (a working class drink popular before the introduction of tea or coffee). It was also used as a substitute for arrowroot.

References

  1. ^ Robertson, John 2009 (2009). "Arum maculatum, cuckoopint, lords and ladies". The Poison Garden. http://www.thepoisongarden.co.uk/atoz/arum_maculatum.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-01.  

External links

Nature's Secret Larder


Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Arum maculatum

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Alismatales
Familia: Araceae
Subfamilia: Aroideae
Tribus: Areae
Genus: Arum
Species: Arum maculatum

Name

Arum maculatum L.

References

Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

  • Species Plantarum 2:966. 1753
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]

Vernacular names

Česky: Árón plamatý
Magyar: Foltos kontyvirág
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Arum maculatum on Wikimedia Commons.







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