Arisaema triphyllum

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 3 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: jack-in-the-pulpit
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Green/purple
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Wet Soil, Black Walnut

Culture

Best grown in fertile, medium to wet soil in part shade to full shade. Needs constantly moist soil rich in organic matter. Does poorly in heavy clay soils. May be grown from seed, but takes five years for plant to flower.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Arisaema triphyllum, commonly called Jack-in-the-pulpit, is a spring woodland wildflower usually growing 1- 2' tall. Flower structure consists of the spadix (Jack) which is an erect spike containing numerous, tiny, green to purple flowers and the sheath-like spathe (pulpit) which encases the lower part of the spadix and then opens to form a hood extending over the top of the spadix. The outside of the spathe is usually green or purple and the inside is usually striped purple and greenish white, though considerable color variations exist. Two large green, compound, long-petioled leaves (1-1.5' long), divided into three leaflets each, emanate upward from a single stalk and provide umbrella-like shade to the flower. The fleshy stalk and leaves lend an almost tropical aura to the plant. Flowering plants initially produce only male flowers, but become hermaphroditic as they further age (male flowers on upper part of spadix and female on lower part). Most plants in a colony will vanish by mid-summer (become dormant), but the mature, hermaphroditic flowering plant will produce a cluster of red berries in mid to late summer which becomes visible as the spathe withers. Roots contain calcium oxalate (same chemical as in Diffenbachia or dumb cane) and are poisonous.

Genus name comes from Greek words aris meaning arum and aima meaning red in reference to the red-blotched leaves found on some species.

Specific epithet means three-leaved.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Best left undisturbed in the shady woodland garden, wild garden or native plant garden.