font settings and languages

Font Size: Large | Normal | Small
Font Face: Verdana | Geneva | Georgia

Arum maculatum

(Adders Tongue)


[ Back to top ]

Common Names

[ Back to top ]

Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Albanian:

Këlkeza e njollosur

Common Names in Arabic:

قلقاس أبقع

Common Names in Azerbaijani:

Xallı danaayağı

Common Names in Czech:

Árón plamatý

Common Names in Danish:

Plettet Arum

Common Names in Dutch:

Gevlekte Aronskelk

Common Names in English:

Adders Tongue, Adam-And-Eve, Calves Foot, Cuckoo Pint, Cuckoopint, Lords and Ladies, Lords-And-Ladies, Sweethearts

Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

gouet tacheté, Pied-De-Veau

Common Names in German:

Gefleckter Aronstab

Common Names in Hungarian:

Foltos kontyvirág

Common Names in Kurdish:


Common Names in Polish:

Obrazki plamiste

Common Names in Russian:

Аронник пятнистый

Common Names in Serbian:


Common Names in Spanish:

Aro Muchado, Culebrera

Common Names in Swedish:

Fläckig munkhätta


[ Back to top ]

Family Araceae

Herbs, perennial , wetland or terrestrial , occasionally emergent or floating, [often epiphytic or climbing ], usually with milky or watery latex, rarely colored . Rhizomes, corms, or stolons present; rhizomes vertical or horizontal, creeping at or near surface , sometimes branched; corms underground, starchy; stolons at or near surface. Stems absent [sometimes aboveground or aerial ]. Cataphylls usually present. Leaves rarely solitary, alternate or clustered; petiole rarely absent, with sheathing base ; blade simple or compound [occasionally perforate ], elliptic to obovate or spatulate , occasionally sagittate-cordate, larger than 1.5 cm; venation parallel or pinnate- or palmate-netted. Inflorescences spadices, each with 3--900 usually tightly grouped, sessile flowers, subtended by spathe ; spathe rarely absent, persistent (sometimes only proximally) or deciduous, variously colored; spadix cylindric or ovoid , various parts occasionally naked or with sterile flowers. Flowers bisexual or unisexual , staminate and pistillate usually on same plants or functionally on different plants, staminate flowers distal to pistillate when unisexual; perianth absent or present; stamens 2--12, distinct or connate in synandria; ovaryies 1, 1--3(--many) -locular, sessile or embedded in spadix; styles 1; stigmas hemispheric , capitate, or discoid [sometimes strongly lobed ]. Fruits berries , distinct or connate at maturity. Seeds 1--40(--many) per berry.

Genera 105, species more than 3300 (8 genera, 10 species in the flora ; species in 10 additional genera may persist locally within flora area, see talbe 203.1) : nearly worldwide, primarily tropical regions .

Araceae are best characterized by the inflorescence, a fleshy cylindric or ovoid, unbranched spadix subtended or surrounded by a spathe. True spathes are absent in the Nearctic genus Orontium and in the Australian genus Gymnostachys. Other plant families with a compressed spadix-like inflorescence, such as Piperaceae and Cyclanthaceae, either do not have a structure equivalent to a spathe (Piperaceae) or have early-deciduous bracts (Cyclanthaceae) . Plants are usually glabrous , rarely pubescent or spiny (pubescent in Pistia) . Many Araceae exhibit typical monocotyledonous parallel leaf venation, but some genera have net leaf venation more typical of dicotyledons.

Infrafamilial classification of the Araceae is under active study. The only classification of the family to date to utilize modern phylogenetic techniques (S. J. Mayo et al. 1997) recognizes seven subfamilies, of which three are represented in native temperate North American aroid flora: Orontioideae (Orontium, Symplocarpus, Lysichiton) ; Calloideae (Calla) ; and Aroideae (Peltandra, Arisaema, and Pistia) . Acorus, a genus historically included in Araceae, is treated as a separate family in theat flora based on extensive morphologic and chemical evidence that supports its removal from Arales (M. H. Grayum 1987) .

The number of genera of Araceae occurring in temperate North America is low in comparison with other continents, and primitive taxa are disproportionately represented. Orontioideae and Calloideae, which include four of the seven native genera found in the flora area, are the basal clades within Araceae. Plants in these subfamilies possess the primitive states for many characteristics in Araceae and share few derived characteristics with other aroid genera (M. H. Grayum 1990) . The more advanced genera native to the flora area include one genus endemic to eastern North America (Peltandra), a pantropical genus with an uncertain native distribution (Pistia), and a genus clearly Eurasian in origin (Arisaema) .

Araceae contain crystals of calcium oxalate , which are often cited as causing the intense irritation experienced when handling or consuming the raw plant tissue of many genera in the family. This supposition is contradicted by the fact that although irritation generally is not produced by properly cooked plants, the crystals remain after heating. Other compounds must therefore be involved with causing this reaction. Studies of Dieffenbachia demonstrated that a proteolytic enzyme , as well as other compounds, are responsible for the severe irritation caused by this plant and that raphides of calcium oxalate do not play a major role (J. Arditti and E. Rodriguez 1982) . Whether irritation is caused by enzymes or crystals, that aspect of Araceae has resulted in aroid genera being included in many lists of poisonous plants (e.g. , K . F. Lampe and M. A. McCann 1985; G. A. Mulligan and D. B . Munro 1990; K. D. Perkins and W. W. Payne 1978) .

Despite the toxic effects of Araceae, species of several genera are cultivated as food plants, mainly as subsistence crops in tropical areas. The major edible Araceae are Colocasia esculenta and several species of Xanthosoma, grown primarily for their corms and sometimes for their leaves. Most North American species of Araceae were historically used by Native Americans, as both food and medicine (T. Plowman 1969) . The family, is currently more valued for its many ornamental species , and is the most important family in North America for indoor foliage plants (T. B. Croat 1994) . Araceae commonly grown as ornamentals in American homes include species of Aglaonema (Chinese-evergreen), Anthurium, Caladium, Dieffenbachia (dumbcane), Epipremnum (golden pothos), Philodendron, Spathiphyllum, Syngonium, and Zantedeschia (calla-lily) .

Plants of some cultivated species of Araceae escape and may persist or naturalize , especially in warmer climates. One of these species, Colocasia esculenta, is widespread enough to warrant full inclusion in the flora, but other introduced species of Araceae are very local in occurrence. Uncommon species represented by herbarium specimens or literature reports as escaped or persisting from cultivation are listed (table 203.1) with distinguishing characteristics and areas of occurrence.[1]

Genus Arum

Monoecious perennial herbs. Leaves simple , spirally disposed, petiole sheathing . Spathe large, tubular at the base . Spadix ± cylindrical. Male flowers in clusters above, surmounted by abortive males; stamens 2-4. Female flowers at the base separated from the male ones by neuter flowers. Ovary unilocular , ovules many, on parietal placentas. Fruit a many seeded berry.

15-16 species, Europe, Mediterranean region, N. Africa and W. Asia.[2]

Physical Description

Flowers: Bloom Period: January, February. • Flower Color: green


Size: 12-18" tall.


Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 5,441 meters (0 to 17,851 feet).[3]


[ Back to top ]


Culture: Space 6-9" apart.

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Light Shade.

Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 7b. (map)


[ Back to top ]


Arisarum maculatum (L.) Raf. • Arum gracile Unverr. Ex Schott • Arum heldreichii Orph. Ex Boiss. • Arum immaculatum (Rchb.) Rchb. • Arum italicum var. amoenum Engl. • Arum maculatum f. flavescens Melzer Ex Riedl • Arum maculatum f. flavescens Riedl • Arum maculatum f. immaculatum (Mutel) Topa • Arum maculatum f. roseum (Grembl. Ex Engl.) Riedl • Arum maculatum f. scolopendriforme Priszter Ex Horvat • Arum maculatum f. spathulatum Terpó • Arum maculatum f. tetrelii (Corb.) Terpó • Arum maculatum pyrenaeum (Dufour) Nyman • Arum maculatum var. flavescens Melzer Ex Janch. • Arum maculatum var. immaculatum Mutel • Arum maculatum var. immaculatum Rchb. • Arum maculatum var. karpatii Terpó • Arum maculatum var. malyi (Schott) Engl. • Arum maculatum var. pyrenaeum (Dufour) Engl. • Arum maculatum var. roseum Grembl. Ex Engl. • Arum maculatum var. tetrelii Corb. • Arum maculatum var. vulgare (Lam.) Engl. • Arum maculatum var. zelebori (Schott) Beck • Arum malyi Schott • Arum orientale amoenum (Engl.) R. R. Mill • Arum pyrenaeum Dufour • Arum trapezuntinum Schott Ex Engl. • Arum vernale Salisb. • Arum vulgare Lam. • Arum zelebori Schott


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 11-Nov-2003

Similar Species

[ Back to top ]

Members of the genus Arum

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 12 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

A. concinnatum (Lords and Ladies) · A. creticum (Arum Arum Creticum) · A. cylindraceum (Arum Alpinum) · A. dioscoridis (Arum) · A. italicum (Italian Arum) · A. italicum italicum (Italian Lords and Ladies) · A. italicum 'Marmoratum' (Lords And Ladies) · A. macrorrhizum (Giant Taro) · A. maculatum (Adders Tongue) · A. nigrum (Purple Stem Elephant Ears) · A. palaestinum (Black Calla Lily) · A. 'Chameleon' (Lords And Ladies)

More Info

[ Back to top ]

Further Reading

[ Back to top ]


[ Back to top ]


Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 17, 2007:



  1. Sue A. Thompson "Araceae". in Flora of North America Vol. 22. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  2. "Arum". in Flora of Pakistan Page 6. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  3. Mean = 90.420 meters (296.654 feet), Standard Deviation = 119.620 based on 11,839 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-01-30