Common in moist woodlands of the eastern United States, Jack-in-the-pulpit are hardy perennial aroids with showy
inflorescences in early summer.
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit)
Subspecies: subsp. pusillum, subsp. quinatum, subsp. stewardsonii, subsp. triphyllum
Native: eastern United States
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Height: to 60 centimeters tall
Diameter: to 45 centimeters wide
Root System: corms, taproot
Growth Rate: slow to moderate
Deciduous: yes, begins flowering around 5 years of age
Tolerates: shade, wet soils
Problems (major): Heavy clay soils severely inhibit growth.
Problems (minor): leaf cutter bees, leaf scorch
Poisonous: calcium oxalate crystals (via ingestion)
Soil requirements: requires consistently moist, nutrient rich, well-drained loams
Air requirements: prefers high humidity, intolerant of urban pollution
Watering requirement: moderate to high
Sun requirement: partial shade (native to shaded woodlands)
Leaf shape: divides into three leaflets on long petioles, leaflets facing skyward, create an umbrella-esque shape, two
leaves per plant
Leaf size: petiole to 45 centimeters tall
Flower structure: typical aroid inflorescence with a creamy-white spadix (Jack) surrounded by a light green (male) or purple (female)
variegated sheath-like spathe (Pulpit, to 18 centimeters) on a green or purple peduncle to 30 centimeters tall, male
flowers on upper portions of spadix and female at bottom
Flowering frequency: early summer for mature individuals (June)
Fruit type: (initially green) red berry-like fruits, emerge in late summer once the spathe dissipates
Fruit dispersal: by birds or small rodents
Subterranean storage organ: tuberous corms
This aroid is common among woodlands throughout the eastern United States. Like Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum), they are small woodland plants growing 1-2 leaves that tolerate heavy shade. Their inflorescences may be streaked with brown or purple colors or simply remain a light green.
The roots are edible in early spring, but they must be carefully prepared via thorough cooking and preparation. These are
fairly tolerant of neglect and need little garden care once established.