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Synonyms: Arum triphyllum , Dragon Root. Wild Turnip. Devil’s Ear. Pepper Turnip. Indian Turnip. Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Memory Root. Arisamae triphyllum (Schott.).
(French) Gouet à trois feuilles.
(German) Dreiblattiger Aron.
Common Names: jack-in-the-pulpit, bog onion, brown dragon, Indian turnip, American wake robin, or wild turnip
Arisaema triphyllum is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a corm. It’s leaves are trifoliate, with groups of three leaves growing together at the top of one long stem produced from a corm; each leaflet is 8–15 centimetres (3.1–5.9 in) long and 3–7 centimetres (1.2–2.8 in) broad. Plants are sometimes confused with Poison-ivy especially before the flowers appear or non-flowering plants. The inflorescences are shaped irregularly and grow to a length of up to 8 cm long. They are greenish-yellow or sometimes fully green with purple or brownish stripes. The spathe, known in this plant as “the pulpit” wraps around and covers over and contain a spadix (“Jack”), covered with tiny flowers of both sexes. The flowers are unisexual, in small plants most if not all the flowers are male, as plants age and grow larger the spadix produces more female flowers. This species flowers from April to June. It is pollinated by flies, which it attracts using heat and smell. The fruit are smooth, shiny green, 1 cm wide berries clustered on the thickened spadix. The fruits ripen in late summer and fall, turning a bright red color before the plants go dormant. Each berry produces 1 to 5 seeds typically, the seeds are white to light tan in color, rounded, often with flattened edges and a short sharp point at the top and a rounded bottom surface. If the seeds are freed from the berry they will germinate the next spring, producing a plant with a single rounded leaf. Seedlings need three or more years of growth before they become large enough to flower.
In addition the plant is not self-pollinating since the male flowers on a specific plant have already matured and died before the female flowers of that same plant are mature. So the female flowers need to be pollinated by the male flowers of a different plant. This inhibits inbreeding and contributes to the health of the species.
Landscape Uses:Massing, Woodland garden. Prefers a cool peaty soil in the bog garden, woodland garden or a sheltered border in semi-shade. Prefers a loamy or peaty soil and will tolerate a sunny position if the soil is moist but not water-logged and the position is not too hot or exposed. Tubers should be planted about 10cm deep. Only plant out full sized tubers and mulch them with organic matter in the winter. Plants need protection from slugs. Most species in this genus are dioecious, but they are sometimes monoecious and can also change sex from year to year. Special Features: Attracts birds, Attractive foliage, North American native, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Wetlands plant.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a cold frame. Stored seed remains viable for at least a year and can be sown in spring in the greenhouse but it will probably require a period of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 6 months at 15°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least a coupe of years until the corms are more than 20mm in diameter. Plant out into their permanent positions whilst they are dormant. Division of tubers when the plant dies down in late summer.
Edible Uses:If the plant is properly dried or cooked it can be eaten as a root vegetable.
Constituents: In the recent state it has a peculiar odour and is violently acrid. It has been found to contain besides the acrid principle, 10 to 17 per cent of starch, albumen, gum, sugar, extractive, lignin and salts of potassium and calcium.
Acrid, expectorant, and diaphoretic. Used in flatulence, croup, whooping-cough, stomatitis, asthma, chronic laryngitis, bronchitis and pains in chest.A preparation of the root was reported to have been used by Native Americans as a treatment for sore eyes. Preparations were also made to treat rheumatism, bronchitis, and snakebites, as well as to induce sterility.
Known Hazards: In the fresh state it is a violent irritant to the mucous membrane, when chewed burning the mouth and throat; if taken internally this plant causes violent gastro-enteritis which may end in death.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.