Other Names: Adder’s Root. Bobbins
Scientific Names: Arum maculatum
Common names: Cocky baby, Dragon root, starch wort
Arabic names: القلقاس الأبقع (al qulqaas al abqa’e)
Rain Forest names:
Family: N.O. Araceae
Approximate Number of Species Known:
Common Parts Used: Rootstock
Collection: Flowers bloom in mid summer
Height: Size of the walnut
Actions: Acrid when fresh, diaphoretic, expectorant
Known Constituents: fresh tuber contains a volatile, acrid principle and starch, albumen, gum, sugar, extractive, lignin and salts of potassium and calcium
Description: (please note: this is the general characteristics – colour, flavor etc)
Herb Name: Cuckoo-Pint
Other names: Adder’s Root. Bobbins. Friar’s Cowl. Lords and Ladies. Arum. Starchwort. Ramp. Quaker. Wake Robin. Kings and Queens. Parson and Clerk.
Scientific name: Arum maculatum
Family: N.O. Araceae
Common part used: Root
This family contains nearly a thousand species, most of which are tropical in nature and habitat, with many marsh dwellers and water plants among these.
This is a very distinctive group of plants. If we take Arum maculatum as an example (commonly known as Cuckoo-pint) we find that it has a number of original characteristics. The stem is long and fleshy and is called a spandix, contained in a leafy sheath, known as the spathe. The flowering organs are contained within this sheathe. The spandix holds dense clusters of primitive flowers, and located at the base of the plant are more flowers. Located just above these is another round of flowers, these being completely sterile. At the top, the spandix turns into a purple, club shaped appendage.
The leaves are light-colored and very glossy, with patches of purple located randomly around them. These push out from the ground in early spring, though they prefer shady areas. The flowering, however, is around autumn, when the ring of flowers at the base become a dense, scarlet group of berries. These remain even after the leaves are gone, and are intensely poisonous, with a sharp, biting taste. A single drop of this juice can cause the mouth and throat to hurt for several hours. Children can die from eating the berries.
The roots are large tubers and are very like the Potato. If eaten fresh, the roots cause a burning sensation in the mouth. However, this effect can be limited by drying the root or by heating it. These roots are rich in starch and highly nutritious, and sold as food items. In France the stalk is turned into soap.
Generally, the extract or the dried root is used as a stimulant. It can also cure a sore throat and ringworm.