Strange flower of Cuckoo Pint or Lords-and-Ladies

Cuckoo Pint

The flowers of Cuckoo Pint (Arum maculatum) are unusual. This plant is also known as Lords-and-Ladies, and Arum Lily. In North America a similar plant is called Jack-in-the-pulpit. The arrow-shaped leaves are the first to appear in the woodland floors and hedgerows; and this year there is an explosion of the plants around Charlton Down following last year’s good season for them. The leaves can either be plain or spotted with dark purplish patches.

The flowers consist of a pale green, cowl-shaped spathe which has a purple margin and wraps around the club-shaped purplish-brown spadix. Later, berries develop on the stalk and form a familiar bright red spike among the vegetation in autumn.