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Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Bog Onion, Brown Dragon, Indian Turnip, American Wake Robin
Synonyms: Plants of the World Online lists 41 synonyms of Arisaema triphyllum. Normally I list them but that list is quite long. If you want to see the list click on POWO.
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 197 species in the Arisaema genus (as of 4-24-20 when I am updating this page. It is a member of the Araceae Family with a total of 129 accepted genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made.
There are several links at the bottom of the page for further reading and a better positive 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 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. 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.
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, since 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 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.
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 plants in this colony have green petioles (stems) with light maroon markings.
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 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. 🙂