Saturday, April 25, 2015

Eight kinds of cuckoo pint

Lords-and-Ladies aka cuckoo pint aka Arum maculatum is a familiar enough plant, but one that is more variable than it might seem, because....






































Some plants have a yellow spadix (the club-shaped bit in the centre) and ....



... others have a purple spadix. Then there's the leaves .....



... which in some plants have dark purple spots ......

















..... and in others are plain green. The frequency of leaf spotting depends on location, with purple spotted leaves being much commoner in central and southern England than in northern England. 

All combinations can occur but plants with yellow spadices and spotted leaves are rarest (around 9% according to C.T.Prime Lords and Ladies [New Naturalist special volume] 1960).

So that's two major variable characters - and there's another one. For that you need to look at the way that the base of that cowl-shaped spathe is coiled. It can be........

























...... clockwise, as seen from above .....


...... or counter-clockwise, as seen from above

So, altogether there are eight possible combinations of these characters.

For more about the botany of Arum maculatum, click here and here





8 comments:

  1. It's the Owl midges that have grabbed my attention. I'll have a wander down the beck tomorrow and see if I can find some Arum.

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    1. Cute little insects. One species breeds in our compost bin.

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  2. I found all of these as well. I live in Croatia.

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    1. Hi Vesna, Delighted to know that you have these too. Thank you for visiting and greetings from Britain!

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  3. Oh, isn't life complicated! Where I live (on the south coast of England) the leaves tend to be brightly spotted or blotched. Now I'll look for these other attributes. A mini-scale adventure.

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    1. So much to look at in Spring, isn't there Lucy?!

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  4. A new collective noun for you Phil - a gallon of cuckoo pints!

    A fascinating account - I shall never look at a cuckoo pint again without asking myself if I've had one too many!

    Best wishes from the sunny Midlands - - Richard

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    1. Brilliant Richard! Maybe they have the metric equivalent on the continent...
      Greetings from a cold but sunny spring day in Durham

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