Cuckoo Pint
Picture of Cuckoo Pint Plant

Cuckoo Pint - Arum maculatum.
Alternate name - Lords and Ladies
Flowers - April - May
Height - 20 - 35cm
An unusual looking plant, a flower of the hedges and margins, and woodland, a few are to be seen around Old Churchfurlong.

The small flowers are at the bottom of the upright spike called the spadix and this is enclosed by a large hood called a spathe.

The flowers attract small flies and midges for pollination, by giving off the smell of rotting meat. The flies crawl down inside the spathe and are trapped by backward pointing hairs. They have to stay there until the hairs wither and they can escape. The leaves are arrow-shaped and sometimes have blackish/purple spots.

Scarlet berries which appear in July/August are very poisonous. These show up well as the rest of the plant withers away.

There are many different local names for these plants. Some of them rather rude. One name was Starchwort because a starch was made from the roots and used to stiffen the fancy ruffs people wore in Elizabethan times.

The berries are poisonous.

Web Site topics

About the Reserve
Visitors Guide

The Pond
Pond Plants
Bugs - Insects
The Spinney

Photo Gallery
Contact Us

Return or Go to
Stewkley Village web site