Arum or Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) is actually Cuckoo Pint/Lords & Ladies (Arum Maculatum)

London is sweltering at the moment (Greenford, ~34, Algiers a mere 28°C). Visitors to the park do not linger long in the open sun but seek secluded glades for relief. One such glade in Perivale Park was discovered this morning when a few of us gathered informally for some exercise. After half an hour of flexing as many muscles as could be reasonably stressed on a hot day, I noticed a splash of red colour in the background. Colour too is none to abundant at the moment, with the seeded and now parched wild flowers suffering as well.

The red turned out to be a large patch of Alum or Calla lily seed pods, which have clearly found the perfect spot for themselves. There are a few such areas in the park where one plant has found conditions that suit it and with few competitors gradually take over the area (another was an outbreak of wild garlic close to the railway embankment). By the way, these seeds are quite poisonous, containing oxalic acid. Do not try to eat! I might add that another attempt to introduce new plants into the park, being the tree saplings variously planted around the park as part of community projects and by Ealing parks, are suffering even more; very few have retained their leaves into August.

One Reply to “Arum or Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) is actually Cuckoo Pint/Lords & Ladies (Arum Maculatum)”

  1. Henry- most definitely not Zantedeschia aethiopica which though in the same family- Araceae- is a much larger, more vigorous plant with large showy white flowers & hailing from South Africa. It is commonly grown here & several gardens along Ruislip Rd near me have large clumps.

    What you have in the photos are the fruiting bodies of Cuckoo Pint/Lords & Ladies. Probably the native Arum (not Alum!) maculatum, though can’t rule out the common garden escape, A. italicum from these photos. Looking good & a sign summer is indeed on the wane.

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