Wild Arum by Ness Armstrong
“Drip, drip, drop little April showers” is how the song goes. The start of April brings all sorts of weather. So far, we’ve had rain, strong winds, frosts and beautiful spring like sunny days!
A lovely walk around a field and hedgerow that runs along a railway line where I live shows me that Mother Nature is being very busy. The earth is awake and things are growing very rapidly. One of the plants that has fascinated me is the Wild Arum. A lot of it grows in the hedgerows near me and its shiny deep green leaves are quite prominent and striking.
So, this month, I thought I’d focus on this lovely plant and found out what I could about it...
Wild Arum or Arum Maculatum is a plant found in woodlands and hedgerows across the UK and Europe. It has a lot of other names – cuckoo pint, lords and ladies, adders root, devils and angels to name a few.
The arrow head shaped green shiny leaves appear in the springtime. This happens just when nature is starting to stir, so they look quite prominent against all the dead undergrowth of winter. They can grow to a length of between 7 and 20cm long. Once the leaves are established, the flowers will appear. These flowers cluster together on the end of a poker shaped stem referred to as spadix and this is enclosed in a leaf like hood partially hidden from view. The flowers are both male and female. This cluster of flowers give off an odour rather similar to faeces and it is quite attractive to small flying insects. The insects fall into the ‘trap’ but do not perish. Instead, they pick up the pollen from the male flowers and then move on to the spadix’s of other plants and in doing so, pollinate the female flowers. Clever eh!
Later in the year, the flowers and leaves die off to reveal a cluster of bright red poisonous berries. Birds love these berries and this is how the plant can be propagated.
The plant is much likened to a fertility symbol. It carries both male and female flowers and the spadix itself is said to look very much like a phallus. It also has links with serpents, death, creation and sexuality.
The root has and can be used as a stiffening starch for laundry but the rest of the plant is quite toxic, so it is not recommended to be used for magical or healing purposes. However, this is nothing to say that you can't take a photo of the plant either in flower or when the berries appear or if you feel confident, paint or draw a picture of the plant. These can be worked with in your magical workings for the following: