Arum maculatum is also known as cuckoo pint or cuckoo-pint in the British Isles and is named thus in Nicholas Culpepers' famous 17th-century herbal. This is a name it shares with Arum italicum (Italian lords-and-ladies) - the other native British Arum. \"Pint\" is a shortening of the word \"pintle\", meaning penis, derived from the shape of the spadix. The euphemistic shortening has been traced to Turner in 1551.
Arum maculatum is also used to make soup in the Andırın region of Turkey where the leaves are leavened with yogurt and boiled for long hours which eliminates toxicity. This process results in a sour soup which is called Tirşik.
Arum maculatum is cultivated as an ornamental plant in traditional and woodland shade gardens. The cluster of bright red berries standing alone without foliage can be a striking landscape accent. The mottled and variegated leaf patterns can add bright interest in darker habitats.
Arum maculatum, commonly known as wild Arum, is a woodland plant species of the Araceae family. All parts of this plant are considered toxic. We report a case of a young man who allegedly consumed poisonous wild tuber with suicidal intention. He presented to our emergency department 3 h later with features of angioedema. He was managed successfully with adrenaline and hydrocortisone. He was discharged after 4 days of observation. Later, the wild tuber plant was identified to be A. maculatum. We recommend that all patients who present with unknown substance poisoning should be managed according to the principles of intensive care, irrespective of the diagnosis.
Arum maculatum is widespread in Britain and Ireland, but in Scotland tends to occur mostly on the eastern coast. Sowter (1949) considered it to be naturalised and not indigenous north of the Firth of Forth and parts of Argyll, while the BRC suggests that it has been introduced in Northumberland and Cumbria and locations further north. The native A. italicum subsp. neglectum is mostly confined to southern England and the Channel Islands, whereas the neophyte subsp. italicum is scattered throughout Britain and Ireland.
Arum maculatum is a woodland plant in the later category. Emerging each year just before Beltane, it brings a fresh green cheer to the woods -- and yet it must be treated with care, for touching this plant can cause allergic reactions ranging from mild to severe, and its orange-red berries, beloved by rodents, are poisonous to everyone else.
The folklore attached to Arum maculatum has an equally zesty nature. The plant was associated with Britain's old May Day traditions, which included sexual congress in the fields to ensure the land's fertility. As such, it was deemed a \"merry little plant\" until Victorian times, and then denounced as devilish, lewd, and symbolic of unbridled sin. (Young girls were warned they must never touch it, because it could make them pregnant.) Herbalists from ancient Greece to medieval Britain extolled the arum's starchy roots for the making of aphrodisiacs, fertility aids, and other medicines focused on the reproductive system, while juice squeezed from the leaves was used for various skin complaints. Due to the arum's toxins, however, great skill was needed to render it safe. In the herb-lore of Wales and the West Country, the secret knowledge of how to to work with the plant came, it was said, from the local fairies -- handed down through mortal families entrusted to use it wisely.
As the days roll on towards Midsummer, the small patch of Armum maculatum in our woods will fade and disappear, leaving only their witchy stumps of toxic berries behind. And then the berries will vanish too, and full summer will be upon us. The brevity of their appearance is one of the things that endears these plants to me. I wait for them, enjoy their company, and then, a heartbeat later, they are gone. The movement of the woodland through its seasons reminds me there is vitality and a wondrous mystery to be found in nature's cycles and circles....
Pictures: The painting above is \"Under the Dock Leaves\" by Victorian fairy painter Richard Doyle ((1824-1883). The fairy tale drawings are by Helen Stratton, a British illustrator born in India (1867-1961). The charming little mouse is from Emma Mitchell's book Wild Remedy, which I recommend. The photographs of Arum maculatum and bluebells were taken in the woods behind my studio.
Figure 1. Localities of the sampled populations of Arum maculatum from north vs. south of the Alps (blue vs. dark yellow dots). The dashed line indicates the main chain of the Alps. Bar plots show the mean absolute abundances of insect groups recorded in the floral chambers (FC) and light trap catches per hour (LT) at each location. Note the differences in y-axis scales between the two regions and among northern populations. For sample sizes of plant individuals and light trap catches, see Supplementary Table S2. North: BUR, Burg Hohenstein; HOH, Hohendilching in Valley; JOS, Josefiau; MUR, Murnau am Staffelsee; NEC, Horb am Neckar; RUM, Rümikon; South: BER, Santa Maria Hoé; DAO, Daone; LIM, Limone Piemonte; MON, Montese; UDI, Udine. The map was prepared using the ETOPO1 Global Relief Model (Amante and Eakins, 2009) and ArcGIS ver. 10.4 (ESRI, Redland, CA, United States).
To investigate whether co-ordinated AOX gene expression in thermogenic appendices is associated with specific turnover of the AOX protein in the mitochondria, we employed a series of in organello protein degradation assays using mitochondria purified from the appendices of A. maculatum.
E-64 is a mechanism-based inhibitor that specifically and irreversibly reacts with papain-like cysteine proteases . Thus, our present results clearly suggest that cysteine protease(s) function in the mitochondria from A. maculatum and that AmAOX proteins are their natural target substrates for degradation in a temperature-dependent manner. Moreover, the E-64-sensitive degradation of AmAOX proteins proceeded faster in the mitochondria from non-hot and hot appendices at either 15C or 30C (Figure 2 and Supplementary Figure S4). These results further indicated that the expression of E-64-sensitive cysteine protease(s) is under the control of inflorescence development in A. maculatum.
Organelle-to-nucleus signalling, or retrograde control, co-ordinates the expression of nuclear genes . Mitochondrial retrograde regulation was first reported in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in which it was shown that perturbed respiratory function activates a retrograde pathway that regulates gene expression and thereby alters cellular metabolism . The AOX genes represent the pre-eminent example of this system in plants [29,36,37,41]. In A. thaliana, the transcription of AtAOX1a has been shown to be strongly negatively regulated by ABI4 , but to be inducible by latent transcriptional factors including NAC17 [62,63]. AtAOX1a has also been shown to be under both negative and positive regulation by the WRKY transcription factors that bind to the AtAOX1a promoter [34,64,65]. Moreover, AtAOX1a transcription can be controlled by a number of regulators such as KIN10 that do not directly bind to its promoter . Among these factors that directly or indirectly regulate AtAOX1a transcription, NAC17 is a tail-anchored protein in the endoplasmic reticulum that is released by rhomboid protease-mediated proteolytic cleavage to activate the expression of AtAOX1a and other downstream regulators of AtAOX1a . Although the genomic sequencing of A. maculatum has not yet been completed and there is no information as to the promoter sequences of AmAOXs, we speculate that retrograde signalling pathways that control the transcription of AtAOX1a may also be involved in regulating the temperature-dependent gene expression of AmAOXs in A. maculatum. It is also possible that the temperature-dependent degradation of AmAOX proteins by the E-64-sensitive cysteine protease produces smaller peptide fragments that signal the activation of transcription (Supplementary Figure S6), as shown in Caenorhabditis elegans . In our model, E-64-sensitivecysteine protease(s) are activated by an elevated appendix temperature caused by endogenous thermogenesis, which leads to an increased degradation of the AOX protein. Moreover, subsequent induction of AOX gene expression via unidentified signalling pathway to the nucleus could be activated (Supplementary Figure S6). 59ce067264