Hedgerow treats… or not

I wrote yesterday about ‘bread and cheese’ not a loaf and a chunk of Cheddar, but the  name given to edible shoots of young plants; I’ve spoken to a couple of friends about it today, and one from Surrey remembered calling young hawthorn by that name, and nibbling it as a child,another from Somerset remembered eating mallow seeds and calling it the same name. I must investigate further!

I remembered a story about a friend who ate wild sorrel in the same way. She worked as a post-lady for a while, and one day out on her rounds on a country lane she picked a couple of leaves of sorrel, and nibbled them as she walked. They didn’t taste as nice as she remembered from her childhood. She began to feel light-headed and by the time she finished her round and got home she felt quite poorly, and slipped into sleep… from which fortunately she woke feeling better.

When she looked t the plant again, and then checked it in a plant book, she realised it was not sorrel… it was cuckoo pint, also known as lords and ladies, and extremely poisonous! She was lucky indeed, but it was a lesson to me about thinking one knows what ones doing when foraging!

What I call cuckoo pint is actually arum maculatum , which has a large number of other names: snakeshead, adder’s root, arum, wild arum, arum lily, lords and ladies, devils and angels, cows and bulls, cuckoo-pint, Adam and Eve, bobbins, naked boys, starch-root, wake robin, friar’s cowl and jack in the pulpit. Pint of Cuckoo pint, is a shortened version of pintel, which is part of a male anatomy.

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