Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Bog Onion, Brown Dragon, Indian Turnip, American Wake Robin
Synonyms of Arisaema triphyllum (41) Updated on 5-3-21: Alocasia atrorubens (Aiton) Raf., Alocasia lobata Raf., Alocasia triphylla (L.) Raf., Arisaema acuminatum Small, Arisaema atrorubens (Aiton) Blume, Arisaema atrorubens f. pallascens (Sims) Raymond, Arisaema atrorubens var. viride Engl., Arisaema atrorubens f. viride (Engl.) Fernald, Arisaema atrorubens f. zebrinum (Sims) Fernald, Arisaema atrorubens var. zebrinum (Sims) Raymond, Arisaema brasilianum Blume, Arisaema deflexum Nieuwl. & K.Just, Arisaema hastatum Blume, Arisaema pusillum Nash, Arisaema pusillum f. pallidum Eames, Arisaema quinatum var. obtusoquinatum Alph.Wood, Arisaema stewardsonii Britton, Arisaema triphyllum var. acuminatum (Small) Engl., Arisaema triphyllum lusus bispadiceum Engl., Arisaema triphyllum lusus bispathaceum Engl., Arisaema triphyllum var. montanum Fernald, Arisaema triphyllum subsp. pusillum (Peck) Huttl., Arisaema triphyllum f. pusillum (Peck) Fernald, Arisaema triphyllum f. stewardsonii (Britton) Engl.Arisaema triphyllum var. stewardsonii (Britton) Stevens, Arisaema triphyllum subsp. stewardsonii (Britton) Huttl., Arisaema triphyllum lusus trispadiceum Engl., Arisaema triphyllum var. typicum Engl., Arisaema triphyllum var. viride (Engl.) Engl., Arisaema triphyllum f. viride (Engl.) Farw., Arisaema triphyllum f. zebrinum (Sims) F.Seym., Arisaema zebrinum G.Nicholson, Arum atrorubens Aiton, Arum triphyllum L., Arum triphyllum var. atropurpureum Michx., Arum triphyllum var. atrorubens (Aiton) Dewey ex Alph.Wood, Arum triphyllum var. pallescens Sims, Arum triphyllum var. virens Michx., Arum triphyllum var. viride Sims, Arum triphyllum var. zebrinum Sims, Arum vittatum Salisb.
Arisaema triphyllum (L.) Schott is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Jack-In-The-Pulpit. It was named and described as such by Heinrich Wilhelm Schott in Meletemata Botanica in 1832. It was first named and described as Arum triphyllum by Carl Linnaeus in the second edition of Species Plantarum in 1763.
The genus, Arisaema Mart., was named and described as such by Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius in Flora in 1831.
Plants of the World Online lists 203 species in the Arisaema genus (as of 5-3-21 when I last updated this page. It is a member of the plant family Araceae with 140 genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made.
The above distribution map for Arisaema triphyllum is from Plants of the World Online. The map on the USDA Plants Database for North America is the same. The species could have a wider range than the maps show.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND BETTER POSITIVE PLANT ID.
Arisaema tryphyllum, also known as Jack-In-The-Pulpit, is a perennal plant that normally grows to 12-24″ in height from a corm. They prefer moist woodlands in humus-rich soil in shade, part-shade, dappled-shade… Just as long as they get some kind of shade. They are found throughout the midwest to eastern North America. They are a very interesting plant that I feel very privileged to have seen for the first time on April 23, 2020.
I am a Moral mushroom hunter and enjoy walking through the woods in the spring looking for them. Truthfully, I barely find any and what I do find are normally right in my own backyard. For the past several years I have been taking my camera and with the help of iNaturalist and many other great websites I have been able to identify quite a few wildflowers.
I went mushroom hunting in the woods on a friend’s farm and was surprised by the number of wildflowers there that weren’t on my farm. I was glad I took the camera because I identified 14 species I was unfamiliar with on the first day. The first species I found that I hadn’t seen before was Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon). Not far from the first colony I found one of Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit). I had seen these online but never in person so I was very happy. None of the Green Dragon’s were flowering on the 23rd but several Jack-In-The-Pulpit’s were. It was a WOW moment!
Some wildflowers are hard to describe and the Arisaema triphyllum is no exception but when you see them you will know what they are. The above photo shows the inflorescence consisting of a hooded spathe with an enclosed spadix.
I moved the top part of the spathe to get a closer look at the spadix inside. The spadix is covered with tiny flowers of both sexes. Flowers are unisexual and sequential hermaphrodites. In other words, both male and female flowers are produced BUT plants can also produce flowers of one sex and even change their sex over several years. This doesn’t happen as the plant matures in a single season but over the life of the corm. That’s the best way I can explain it…
In smaller plants most or all of the flowers are male. As plants get older and grow larger more female flowers are produced. Information says plants are not self-pollinating, however, the male flowers mature and die before the female flowers mature. Therefore the female flowers need to be pollinated by the male flowers of other plants. Flowers are pollinated by fungus gnats which are attracted by the foul odor from the flowers. The gnats can escape from the male flowers to be able to fly to other plants where they are trapped by the female flowers.
Flowers produce quite a number of red berries on the spadix which ripen in late summer and fall. The berries produce 1-5 seeds that germinate the following spring producing a single rounded leafed plant. Plants require three or more years before they flower.
HMMM… Interesting photo. I had to think about this photo for a minute. It is of a fairly new emerging plant. What you see is a leaf beginning to unfurl. Apparently, the plant “sprouts” and a leaf is the first thing that starts growing. The petioles will continue to get taller and the leaf and leaflets get larger. The spiral pattern are from the veins in a leaflet.
Here is another fairly young plant with the one in the previous photo behind it.
A single flowering stem (petiole) arises from the corm separate from the leaf stem (also a petiole). At the top of the petiole (apex) is the inflorescence consisting of a peduncle.
I have been in a lot of woods in the area and this was the first experience finding the Arisaema triphyllum. I admit, I usually take a lot of photos, but I did get a little carried away. I couldn’t help it because they were everywhere!
Arisaema triphyllum is a variable species so you will find plants with petioles and hooded spathes of various shades. No matter, once you have seen them in person you won’t forget what they are…
Plants grow 1-2 trifoliate leaves on long petioles emerging from the corm. Each petiole (leaf stem) produces only one leaf at the top with three leaflets. Each leaflet can grow 7” long x 3” wide. One source says they can grow as large as 12” long x 8” wide…
The petioles can be green, maroon, or streaked…
The leaf undersides show prominent veining and thick midribs…
The plants in this colony have green petioles (stems) with light maroon markings.
Origin: Eastern North America.
Zones: USDA Zones 4a-9 (-10 to 25° F).
Size: 12-24” (some websites say to 36”).
Light: Part to full shade.
Soil: Prefers moist soil rich in organic matter.
Water: Average to wet.
Flowers: April through May, sometimes into June.
No problem finding Jack in this pulpit…
The petioles of the above photo had darker maroon petioles. Several colonies in this particular area had darker petioles where in others they were green.
I went back to the woods on May 10 because there were several wildflowers I wanted to keep an eye on. I need to make a map because there were several I couldn’t find again. We also had a storm and there was a landslide on the hillside along the creek in one area that completely covered the only plant of one species…
Of course, in these woods, there was no missing the two Arisaema species…
Of course, I had to take more photos… I noticed a lot of Arisaema triphyllum have two leaves and some just have one.
It appears one petiole, apparently the first, grows straight up while the second emerges from the first. Then the petiole with the inflorescence grows from the second one. Well, at least on this plant…
I wanted to see the female flowers and berries so I pulled the spathe apart a little to have a look.
I take a lot of photos and later wonder why. What was unique in this photo?
Ahhh, here is a good one… This is a photo of the female flowers before the fruit forms. This is where the fungus gnats get stuck…
The above photo was taken on a hillside in kind of a clearing where more light was reaching the ground at around noon. This more light allowed a lot more plants to grow on the ground and the Jack-In-The-Pulpits in this area grew very tall above the other plants.
I will definitely be going back to take more photos in this wooded area in 2021.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky
NOTE: Plants of the World Online is the most up-to-date database. It is very hard for some to keep with name changes these days so you may find a few discrepancies between the websites. Just be patient. Hopefully, someday they will be in harmony. 🙂
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
ARKANSAS NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
MSU-A SPECIES ACCOUNT
USDA FOREST SERVICE
LAKE FOREST COLLEGE
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates at least once a year and when I write new pages but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂