September 3rd – Arum Maculatum is a common sight in hedgerows and woods at this time of year. Known variously as Wild arum, Lords and Ladies, Devils and Angels, Cows and Bulls, Cuckoo-Pint, Adam and Eve and even Naked Boys, it’s a very unusual plant which sheds it’s foliage before fruiting leaving a 6 to 12 inch high column of bright orange-red berries. These berries are highly poisonous and this is the plant responsible for most hospital admissions due to accidental ingestion in the UK.
The berries contain a toxin which makes the oral tract tingle, and causes sickness and swelling of the throat. Always avoid touching it, although the temptation to do so us great, it has an almost artificial appearance that renders it grimly fascinating.
What always worries me about this plant is that it’s at a perfect height, and so brightly attractive, that young kids may be drawn to it. What yours if you’re out walking.
This example is growing, along with lots of others, on the riverbank near the Arrow Valley cycle path in Redditch.