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Arum maculatum

Arum maculatum



About this cultivar:

Arum maculatum is a common woodland plant species of the Araceae family. It is widespread across most of Europe, as well as Turkey and the Caucasus. It is known by an abundance of common names including snakeshead, adder's root, arum, wild arum, arum lily, lords-and-ladies, devils and angels, cows and bulls, cuckoo-pint, Adam and Eve, bobbins, naked girls, naked boys, starch-root, wake robin, friar's cowl, sonsie-give-us-your-hand, jack in the pulpit, cheese and toast, and if those are not suggestive enough, the willy-lily. The names unsuprisingly refer to the plant's likeness to male and female genitalia symbolising copulation. There is a wealth of folklore about this plant dating back thousands of years.

The purple-spotted leaves of A. maculatum appear in the spring (April–May) followed by the flowers borne on a poker-shaped inflorescence called a spadix, which is partially enclosed in a pale green spathe or leaf-like hood. Above the male flowers is a ring of hairs forming an insect trap. Insects are attracted to the spadix by its faecal odour and a temperature up to 15°C warmer than the ambient temperature. The insects are trapped beneath the ring of hairs and are dusted with pollen by the male flowers before escaping and carrying the pollen to the spadices of other plants, where they pollinate the female flowers. The spadix may also be yellow, but purple is the more common.

Oh, you could go on about this plants. But fundamentally this is a fun native plant that does great in the garden!

  • Position: Full sun, partial shade (better in partial shade)
  • Soil: Almost any soil 
  • Flowers: May, June, July
  • Other features: -
  • Hardiness: H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20°C)
  • Habit: Columnar or Upright
  • Foliage: Semi evergreen
  • Height: 15 - 45 cm (0.5 - 01.5 ft)
  • Spread: 7 - 22 cm (0.25 - 0.75 ft)
  • Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years
  • Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Colour: White, green, red
  • Goes well with: Hosta, Hemerocallis, Iris and other plants which will compliment their dormant period in the summer

About this genus:

Arum is a genus often called the Arum lily, although botanically Arum is not related to a real lily (genus Lilium) at all. Mostly native to Europe they are relatives of the Asian cobra lily or jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema) and are quite easy to grow in a wide range of soils and moisture levels (although part sun and well-drained soils are best).

Arum are dormant in the summer and start to grow in the late autumn. They are usually grown for their beautiful foliage which looks best in winter but they also produce a wide variety of large, colourful flowers which are followed by red berries in late spring.

Good garden pairings are Hosta, Hemerocallis, Iris and other plants which will compliment their dormant period in the summer.