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Friar’s Cowl (Arisarum vulgare)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Friar's Cowl
Arisarum vulgare

A good ground-cover plant for a shady place[1].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Root – cooked. The acrid juice should first be removed by thorough and repeated washing leaving behind a nutritious and innoxious residue[2, 105, 177]. Thorough drying or cooking will also destroy any harmful elements of this root[K]. The root is frequently used as an emergency food in times of scarcity, it is about the size of a walnut[2].

    One report suggests that the leaves might be edible[177]. If they are they must be well cooked first[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The plant contains calcium oxylate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten but they are easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water[65].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – we have no details for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a shady part of the greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the spring if this is possible. Sow stored seed in early spring. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least the first winter in a greenhouse and plant out when dormant in the summer once the tuber has reached a reasonable size. Division in spring after the plant dies down[1].
Prefers a woodland soil or a sandy loam with leafmould[1]. Grows well in shady rather moist places[1]. A Mediterranean plant, it commences growth in the autumn and, since the leaves are not very hardy, the plant is best grown under protection[90]. It should succeed outdoors at least in the milder parts of the country, if grown in a sheltered woodland. The plant is hardy to about -10¡c for short periods but should be given a good mulch in the winter[200]. The plant becomes dormant in spring/summer[200].
S. Europe.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.