This section is from the book "Wayside And Woodland Blossoms", by Edward Step. Also available from Amazon: Wayside And Woodland Blossoms: A Guide To British Wild-Flowers.
Lords-and-Ladies, Cuckoo-pintle, Priest's-pintle, Calves-foot, Starchwort, Ramp, and Wake-robin are also names by which this very familiar spring-plant is known in different localities. Its appearance is remarkable, and its structure no less interesting. About a foot below the surface of woods and hedgebanks is the tuberous rootstock, from which arise above ground in March the handsome arrow-shaped leaves, more or less spotted with red or purple. From the midst of these leaves in April rises the flower-stalk, bearing an enormous pale-green rolled-up bract-leaf, of similar nature to the small thin bract we observed at the base of the pedicels in Scilla, but larger than the ordinary leaves. It unrolls and then resembles a monk's-cowl, and also discloses a purplish cylindric column. The green envelope is called a spathe, and must not be taken for a flower. The flowers are there in great number, but they are small and arranged round the lower part of the central column (spadix). The lower third of the spathe is marked off from the rest by a slight constriction, and if with a sharp knife we slice off the front portion of this part we shall there find the flowers in four series.
Cuckoo-pint, Lords and Ladies, Wake Robin.
- Aroideae. -