Jack in the Pulpit - Arisaema triphyllum
Jack in the Pulpit is a herbaceous perennial plant also known by several other names: bog onion, brown dragon, Indian turnip, wild turnip and American wake robin. From a corm, a long stem is produced. A top of tat stem is three leaves grouped. The leaves measure 3 to 6 inches long by 1 to 3 inches wide. They surround a hooded cup or spathe a stalk or bulb. The bulb can be green, pink, white or red. This forms the Jack in the Pulpit plant's appearance.
Jack in the Pulpitis poisonous if eaten because it contains oxalic acid. The roots at eaten. If raw, they cause blisters and pain. The roots can be eaten if peeled, cut up into small chinks and roasted at least an hour first. It is native to the lower 48 states and some parts of Canada. It grows in the hardiness zones 2 through 7.
In the spring harvest seeds from the ripe berries and plant them. If using division to propagate, the corm of the Jack in the Pulpit can be planted at least six inches underground. Plant in the organically rich soil. Use plenty of organic mulch such as bark, cocoa bean shells and or pine needles and replace each spring. It prefers shady spots in moist slightly acid soil and annual fertilizing with compost. The first year only one of the three leaves may appear. It could take up to three years for it to flower.
The Jack in the Pulpit grows abundantly in woodland areas. It can also flourish quite handsomely in shade, rain or bog gardens. It can grow quite successfully in containers. Sitting in a backyard, they could regularly attract birds. Little maintenance is required. The Jack in the Pulpit will grow from 6 inches to 3 feet in height and up to 6 to 12 inches in width.