"For now we are young let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see" Neutral Milk Hotel.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Lords and Ladies, Cuckoo-pint, Wake Robin or ?

Arum maculatum is known by all the above names plus many more.  I saw my first plant of the year in flower today (rather late this year) in Ringstead Downs.  It is certainly one of our more unusual native plants, with the flowering organs, spadix, enveloped in a characteristic sheath-like bract called a spathe.  The upper part of the spadix is cylindrical club-shaped and usually chocolate-purple; the lower part is hidden in a cup.  The leaves are arrow-shaped to triangular and a bright green, often with purple spots.  The red berries, in a dense spike, are a common autumn sight.
According to Culpepper's Herbal - The berries or roots beaten with hot ox-dung, and applied, easeth the pains of the gout. The roots and fresh cow dung were both available at the Downs, but seeing as I don't have gout I couldn't try out the remedy!

Arum maculatum

One of the 5 British White Cattle in Ringstead Downs

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