When does this bloom?
Where does this bloom?
Common in woodland areas
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, or Arisaema triphyllum, is commonly found in woodland areas and is native to eastern North America.
The height of the plant is on average between 30 – 65 cm tall, and is characterized by three parted leaves, while the actual flower, or “jack” is hidden underneath the hood, or “pulpit”. People commonly confuse this plant with Poison Ivy before the actual flower appears due to the trifoliate shape of the leaves.
Flowering usually occurs from April to June and is pollinated by flies. The flower produces berries that appear green in color. Once late summer, early fall, arrives, the berries turn a bright red color and are easily visible since the “pulpit” part of the plant falls away.
Jack-in-the-pulpit contains oxalic acid which is poisonous if ingested. Calcium oxalate crystals are also present, so consumption of the plan can cause a very strong burning sensation in the mouth, throat, and digestive system. It has been documented that swelling of the mouth and throat can occur which can directly impact breathing.
If the plant is properly cooked or dried, it can be eaten as a root vegetable.
The native americans made a preparation of the root to treat sore eyes, bronchitis, rheumatism, snakebites, and to induce sterility.
A story from the Meskwaki Indians describes how they used to hide chopped up Jack-in-the-Pulpits inside of meat, and then leave that meat out for enemies to find. The taste of oxalate crystals would be covered up by the meat, but of course, would cause great pain and possibly death to their enemies.
The flower was used in prognostication by dropping a Jack-in-the-pulpit seed into a cup of stirred water. If the seed rotated four times clockwise, the patient would recover; if it rotated counter-clockwise it indicated the patient would not recover.