Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit)

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-7.

Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Bog Onion, Brown Dragon, Indian Turnip, American Wake Robin

Arisaema triphyllum

air-uh-SEE-muh  try-FIL-um

Synonyms of Arisaema triphyllum (31) Updated on 11-13-22 from Plants of the World Online): Alocasia atrorubens (Aiton) Raf. (1837), Alocasia lobata Raf. (1837), Alocasia triphylla (L.) Raf. (1837), Arisaema acuminatum Small, Arisaema atrorubens (Aiton) Blume (1836), Arisaema atrorubens f. pallascens (Sims) Raymond (1949), Arisaema atrorubens var. viride Engl. (1879), Arisaema atrorubens f. viride (Engl.) Fernald (1940), Arisaema atrorubens f. zebrinum (Sims) Fernald (1940), Arisaema atrorubens var. zebrinum (Sims) Raymond (1949), Arisaema brasilianum Blume (1936), Arisaema deflexum Nieuwl. & K.Just (1931), Arisaema hastatum Blume (1936), Arisaema quinatum var. obtusoquinatum Alph.Wood (1861), Arisaema triphyllum lusus bispadiceum Engl. (1920), Arisaema triphyllum lusus bispathaceum Engl. (1920), Arisaema triphyllum var. montanum Fernald (1940), Arisaema triphyllum lusus trispadiceum Engl. (1920), Arisaema triphyllum var. typicum Engl. (1920), Arisaema triphyllum var. viride (Engl.) Engl. (1920), Arisaema triphyllum f. viride (Engl.) Farw. (1928), Arisaema triphyllum f. zebrinum (Sims) F.Seym. (1969), Arisaema zebrinum G.Nicholson (1884), Arum atrorubens Aiton (1789), Arum triphyllum L. (1753), Arum triphyllum var. atropurpureum Michx. (1803), Arum triphyllum var. atrorubens (Aiton) Dewey ex Alph.Wood (1847), Arum triphyllum var. pallescens Sims (1806), Arum triphyllum var. virens Michx. (1803), Arum triphyllum var. viride Sims (1806), Arum triphyllum var. zebrinum Sims (1806), Arum vittatum Salisb. (1796)

Arisaema triphyllum (L.) Schott is the 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.

As of 11-13-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 210 species in the Arisaema genus. It is a member of the plant family Araceae with 139 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

Distribution map of Arisaema triphyllum from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved on April 27, 2020.

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.

The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.


Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-8.

Arisaema tryphyllum, also known as Jack-In-The-Pulpit, is a perennial plant that normally grows to 12-24″ in height from a corm. They prefer moist woodlands in humus-rich soil in shade, part-shade, and 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 Dragons were flowering on the 23rd but several Jack-In-The-Pulpit 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.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-9.

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.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-10.

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.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-11.

Here is another fairly young plant with the one in the previous photo behind it.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-12.

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.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-13.

I have been in a lot of woods in the area and this was my 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 (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-14.

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…

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-15.

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…

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-16.

The petioles can be green, maroon, or streaked…

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-the-Pulpit) on 4-23-20, #690-17.

The leaf undersides show prominent veining and thick midribs…

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-3-20, #695-10.

The plants in this colony have green petioles (stems) with light maroon markings.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-3-20, #695-11.

Family: Araceae.
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.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-3-20, #695-12.

No problem finding Jack in this pulpit…

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-3-20, #695-13.

The petioles in the above photo had darker maroon petioles. Several colonies in this particular area had darker petioles whereas in others they were green.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-10-20, #697-15.

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…

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-10-20, #697-16.

Of course, I had to take more photos… I noticed a lot of Arisaema triphyllum have two leaves and some just have one.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-10-20, #697-17.

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…

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-10-20, #697-18.

I wanted to see the female flowers and berries so I pulled the spathe apart a little to have a look.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-10-20, #697-19.

I take a lot of photos and later wonder why. What was unique in this photo?

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-10-20, #697-20.


Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-10-20, #697-21.

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…

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) on 5-23-20, #703-1.

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 live on a small farm in Windsor, Missouri where I enjoy gardening, collecting plants, and identifying wildflowers. The farm is in Pettis County but Henry County is across the street, and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away. I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 250 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). 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 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. 🙂



NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. 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. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. 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 or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂


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