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Lords-and-ladies

(Arum maculatum)

Lords-and-ladies © Laurie Campbell

Lords-and-ladies © Laurie Campbell


Also often known as the 'cuckoo pint', a plant with shiny arrow shaped leaves often with dark spots.

The flower is designed to attract flies for pollination and club shaped spike releases a urine-like odour. Its fruit - a spike of bright orange berries - can be a common sight in woodlands in autumn. Like many wild berries these are toxic to humans so take care around them.

Lords-and-ladies is one of the species we keep track of in our Wildflowers Count survey - click here to find out how you can help out.

Distribution

Lords-and-ladies are quite common throughout most of the UK. The exception is north and central Scotland.

Habitat

Hedgerows and woodland.

Lords-and-ladies berries © Laurie Campbell

The vivid berries. © Laurie Campbell

Best time to see

It flowers in April and May, but is also a striking sight when its bright orange berries are in fruit in autumn.

Did you know?

The plant's fascinating shape and form has inspired a wide variety of names.

These include:

  • Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Soldier-in-a-sentry-box
  • Bloody man's finger
  • the rather lengthy 'Kitty-come-down-the-lane-jump-up-and-kiss-me' (an old Kentish name).

Perhaps not surprisingly, many have rather bawdy associations.