It is included in the first ever encyclopaedia and in the remedies of a Welsh healing family who say they were taught by the fairy folk. Legends tell of its power to rouse bears from hibernation and how its pollen glows at night giving it the name of 'fairy lamps'.
Known as Cuckoo Pint, Stallions and Mares and Dog's Dibble, amongst a host of other local names, Arum Maculatum has always stirred our imaginations. The unmistakable sexual suggestiveness carried in its curves has led to it being universally considered a powerful aphrodisiac. Reflecting this bawdy sexuality the plant has inspired over 150 common names in English alone: more than any other British plant.
To know the Wild Arum is to steep one's self in the history of our ongoing relationship with plants and to delve into the very roots of herbalism and botany. It is to go on a journey which begins in ancient Greece with the earliest herbal manuscripts ever written and a single book which was in continual use for over 1500 years. It ends with the latest research into the genetic evolution of plants. It is to step into the intimate relationship between powerful plants and our own evolution, taking in along the way the first herbal guides, much myth and folklore, Elizabethan high fashion, rampant plagiarism and hibernating bears. It's quite a story.
Containing over 100 stunning photographs showcasing this unique British plant, the Secret Life of Lords and Ladies explores the history, the mythology and the fascination which this plant has held for us since ancient times.