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Jack-in-the-pulpit is one of those plants that are special because of the shape of the flower. Jack, actually the spandix of the flower, is covered by the spathe, the colored "pulpit". Jack is really a three season plant. The flowers in the spring, last quite a while. The foliage and beginning green berries in the summer, and the bright red berries in the fall. The berries persist in the garden long after the foliage dies down.

The flower color varies from dark brown and green to light green with white stripes. The sex of the plant also varies, in times of stress and when young they tend to be male. The females bear the berries. The male plants tend to go dormant sooner.

The leaves are palmately compound, usually with 3 leaflets. Many people mistake it for trillium when not in flower. The leaves are attached to the stem differently than trillium leaves. The leaves are attractive dark green and generally hold up well through out the growing season

Jack-in-the-pulpit grows from a tuber. The fall is the best time for planting bare root because the Jack in the pulpit goes dormant and can be treated like daffodils and tulips and other bulbs. The new roots grow in late winter, early spring and the plant emerges in early to mid May. The plant contains crystals of calcium oxalate and must be handled with care. Some people develop a rash when handling the tubers and seeds.

Jack-in-the-pulpit is quite easy to grow, given the right conditions. The soil should be acid, and rich. They like a moist soil and will go dormant early from lack of moisture.

When grown in an area Jack-in-the-pulpit likes it will spread naturally. The tubers form off sets that grow into new plants the following spring. The seed also germinates reliably. Take the ripened red seed in the late fall and squish the seed out of the pulp into the soil where you would like the plant to "spread". Take care when doing this, use gloves. It takes Jack about five years to flower from seed.

Arisaema triphyllum - Jack-in-the-pulpit

  • -An unusual and interesting plant

    -Grows in shade to part shade

    -Produces bright red berries in the fall

    -Grows from a corm

    -Will grow in very moist soils

    -Green and brown flowers

    -Height: 1 to 1.5 feet tall

    -Zone: 3 to 9

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