Jack in the Pulpit

Botanical Name: Arisaema triphyllum

Other Common Names: Jack in the Pulpit, Bog Onion, Lady in a Chaise, Pepper Turnip

Brief Description and Notes: Arisaema is a native long-lived woodland perennial that spreads itself over time. From March-June, look for the unique “flower” (made up of the columnar spadix in the middle with male or female flowers, and the surrounding hood/spathe). There are three leaflets, resembling the trifoliate leaves of trillium. In late summer, look for the appearance of the clustered bright red berries. 

Where To Look For It: Moist, semi-shaded, rich woodlands

Ornamental Value: Unique flower and berries, long-lived, spreads itself easily. Great for a native woodland groundcover. 

Ecological Value & Roles: Pollinated by flies and fungus gnats. Berries are loved by various birds and mammals. An interesting note is that most of the Arisaema species are located in Asia, but this one is native to our region. 

Edibility and Other Human Use: One should be extremely cautious about using this plant for food. However, it is said that the corms are edible. The roots are possibly edible when dried and roasted. The berries and foliage are poisonous. 

 

Sources

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Wild Seed Project