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Arisaema triphyllum

Information is courtesy of Magna Vista High School students.




The scientific name is derived from two Greek words aris and haema, meaning blood triphyllum means three leaves.

Arisaema triphyllum is more commonly known as "Jack in the Pulpit". The common name derives from its tubular, hooded flower, which looks like a little man (Jack) in a pulpit.

This plant is a member of the Arum family, which also includes Arrow Arum and Skunk Cabbage.

It is native to Virginia and many other areas along the East Coast.

A strong, fungal smell is emitted by the plant pouch-shaped spathe in the flower ensnares insects, especially gnats, to ensure pollination occurs.

The niche of Jack in the Pulpit is producing CO2, which is very necessary for nature.

The coloration in the flowers may differ between seasons. It has one to two leaves depending on the sex (one for male, two for female). The flower rises on a separate stalk but is often considered trifoliate.

It blooms in late spring (April to May), and produces clusters of red berries in the summer. It dies off by winter.

The berries produce one to five seeds. 

Male plants will have one stem divided into three leaflets, while female plants will have two stems, each divided into three leaflets, and both having a separate stem containing the flower.

All parts of the plant induce a strong burning sensation if eaten raw. However the root can be eaten if dried and cooked properly. Native American tribes used to make young men eat certain parts of the plant raw to prove their manliness. This plant can also be used as a starch for clothes.

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