©Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

Lords-and-ladies berries

©Amy Lewis




Scientific name: Arum maculatum
Look for the unusual flowers of lords-and-ladies in spring woodlands: a pale green sheath surrounds a spike of tiny, yellow flowers. This spike eventually forms a familiar, short stalk of striking red berries.

Species information


Height: up to 50cm

Conservation status


When to see

April to May


An early flowering plant, lords-and-ladies can be seen in April and May. It is a shade-loving plant of woodlands and hedgerows, and is particularly distinctive as it displays a pale green sheath surrounding a purple or yellow 'spadix' (a spike of tiny flowers on a fleshy stem). This spadix eventually produces an upright stalk of bright red berries that is conspicuous among the leaf litter.

How to identify

Lords-and-ladies has large, arrow-shaped leaves, and leaf-like flower heads that curl around a long inner spike carrying tiny, yellow flowers. This spike eventually produces an upright stalk of bright red berries.


Grows everywhere in the UK, but less common in the north of Scotland.

Did you know?

Lords-and-ladies has many other common names, arising from its rather strange look, but 'Cuckoo-pint' is perhaps one of the most widely used.
The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive.