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  • Arum maculatum L.
  • Arum family

Common Names

herbsCocky baby
herbsCypress powder
herbsDragon root
herbsPortland arrowroot

Parts Usually Used


Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Arum is a perennial plant; its tuberous rootstock is poison when fresh but edible when dried or sufficiently cooked. It is about the size of a walnut and is brown outside, white inside. Arum's arrowhead-shaped leaves are also poisonous when eaten. Its flowers, which bloom in May and June, trap insects which the plant digests for food.

Other varieties: Wake robin or Jack in the pulpit (A. triphyllum); Dragon or Green arum (A. dracontium)

Where Found

It grows in moist, shady places, along hedges, among bushes, and in deciduous forests.

Medicinal Properties

Acrid when fresh, diaphoretic, expectorant


Only the dried root should be used.

Arum is used mixed with honey or syrup for internal use and as an ointment for external use. Internally, used for bronchitis, asthma, chronic catarrh, flatulence, and rheumatic problems. A 1:1 mixture of arum and sweet flag in powder form is sometimes recommended as a stomachic. An ointment made from arum is useful for sores and ringworm, swellings. Simmer arum with cumin in wine or oil to make a plaster. Only the dried root should be used.


The whole plant of arum is poisonous. Only the root, dried and/or sufficiently cooked, should be used. Recommended use of arum only under medical supervision.

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