Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is a native plant that has entranced me since childhood, probably since I was first introduced to it on a Girl Scout camping trip. In my previous post about wildflowers I showed the Jack pictured below.Soon after I took that photo, that particular plant was laid low by hard freeze, and I thought that was all I was going to see of Jack-in-the-pulpit until next year.
But I was wrong.
As the weather warmed up, more and more Jacks emerged, from fully developed mature plants to tiny seedlings. Seedlings! They must be happy here! In the end, I really couldn’t count them all, though I think there are about a dozen mature plants with a spadix (the Jack) and spathe (the pulpit). Jack-in-the-pulpit has a lot of natural variation, as you can see below.
Jack-in-the-pulpit and Trillium both have three leaves
Since both Jack-in-the-pulpit and trillium have three leaves, I used to have trouble telling them apart. There are several differences between the two, but the easiest one to recognize is Jack-in-the-pulpit leaves form a “T”.Trillium leaves are spread out more or less equidistant from each other. If you look carefully you can also see that the veining is different in the leaves of the two plants. In the photo above there are four Jacks plus a strawberry plant. The strawberry also has three leaves, but they are serrated, making it easy to distinguish from the other two plants.
Rust Disease in Arisaemas
Did you notice that plant #3 has mottled leaves? I believe this may be the start of a rust that affects arisaemas. According to William Cullina, author of Wildflowers: A Guide to Growing and Propagating Native Flowers of North America, “infected plants develop cupped, misshapen leaves that erupt with rusty brown spores in spring as the plants are blooming. Remove and destroy infected plants.” As I scurried around earlier tonight taking pictures for this post, I did see some plants with cupped and distorted leaves, but I didn’t know what they meant at that point. I will have to go back and remove those plants, since the disease can spread quickly and can affect other arisaema species.
At our old house, I could grow Jack-in-the-pulpit in a garden bed, but could never establish it in the wild, so I am thrilled to see so many growing wild at our new home.
Posted for Wildflower Wednesday, created by Gail of Clay and Limestone, to share wildflowers/native plants no matter where you garden in the blogasphere. “It doesn’t matter if we sometimes show the same plants. How they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most. It’s always the fourth Wednesday of the month!”