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Jack in the Pulpit

The Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is a flowering, herbaceous, perennial plant in the Araceae family. It is also known as Indian Turnip, Bog Onion, Wake Robin, and Brown Dragon.

The plant is very toxic to people and animals if eaten.

It is found across eastern North America and into Canada.

It grows from a corm-like root, growing to 60 centimetres (24 inches) tall.

It has one or two leaves with leaflets that form three leaves Triphyllum means three-leaved.

The flowers are unusual. They are small and inconspicuous on a spike-like inflorescence called a spadix (Jack) enclosed in a large, hooded, colourful bract called a spathe (pulpit).  The flowers are clustered around the base of the spadix inside the spathe.

The fruits are smooth, shiny, green berries, about one centimetre (less than half an inch) wide. They turn red when ripe.

The Jack in the Pulpit blooms in spring, from April to May in the Northern Hemisphere. The flowers are barely seen – it is the striped purple hooded spathe that can be easily seen.

Photographed in Nashville, Tennessee, North America, late March 2023.

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

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