Tag Archives: Toxicodendron radicans

Jewelweed ( Impatiens )

Botanical Name: Impatiens aurea (MUHL.), Impatiens biflora (WALT.)
Family: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens
Kingdom: Planta
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Wild Balsam. Balsam-weed. Impatiens pallida. Pale-touch-me-not. Spottedtouch-me-not. Slipperweed. Silverweed. Wild Lady’s Slipper. Speckled Jewels. Wild Celandine. Quick-in-the-hand.

Common Names: Impatiens, Jewelweed, Touch-me-not, Snapweed

Part Used: Herb.
Habitat: Members of the genus Impatiens are found widely distributed in the north temperate zone and in South Africa, but the majority are natives of the mountains of tropical Asia and Africa. It grows in lowlying, damp, rather rich soil, beside streams and in similar damp localities.
Description:
Some species are annual plants and produce flowers from early summer until the first frost, while perennial species, found in milder climates, can flower all year. Regardless of their lifespan, the largest impatiens grow up to about 2 meters (about 7 feet) tall, but most are less than half as tall. The stems somewhat translucent, the foliage showing a brilliant silvery surface when immersed in water, which will not adhere to the surface. The leaves are entire and shiny; their upperside has a thick, water-repellent cuticula that gives them a greasy feel. Particularly on the underside of the leaves, tiny air bubbles are trapped over and under the leaf surface, giving them a silvery sheen that becomes pronounced when they are held under water.They are thin, ovate oval, more or less toothed, of a tender green colour.

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The flowers, up to 2–3 cm, around 1 inch long, in most species are made up by a shoe- or horn-shaped spur for the most part, with at least the upper petals insignificant by comparison; some have a prominent labellum though, allowing pollinators to land. Others, like the busy lizzie (I. walleriana), have flattened flowers with large petals and just a tiny spur that appear somewhat similar to those of violets (Viola), an unrelated genus. A few Impatiens species have flowers intermediate between the two basic types.The oblong capsules of both species when ripe explode under the slightest disturbance, scattering the seeds widely. Most of the popular names refer to this peculiarity, others to the shape of the flowers.

The slipper-shaped, yellow flowers, in bloom from July to September, have long recurved tails, those of the first-named species being of a uniform pale-yellow, those of the second species, orange-yellow, crowded with dark spots, hence its common name of Spotted-touch-me-not.

Constituents: Impatiens contain 2-methoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, an anti-inflammatory and fungicide naphthoquinone that is an active ingredient in some formulations of Preparation H.
Medicinal Uses:
North American impatiens have been used as herbal remedies for the treatment of bee stings, insect bites, and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) rashes. They are also used after poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) contact to prevent a rash from developing. The efficacy of orange jewelweed (I. capensis) and yellow jewelweed (I. pallida) in preventing poison ivy contact dermatitis has been studied, with conflicting results. A study in 1958 found that Impatiens biflora was an effective alternative to standard treatment for dermatitis caused by contact with sumac, while later studies found that the species had no antipruritic effects after the rash has developed. Researchers reviewing these contradictions state that potential reason for these conflicts include the method of preparation and timing of application. A 2012 study found that while an extract of orange jewelweed and garden jewelweed (I. balsamina) was not effective in reducing contact dermatitis, a mash of the plants applied topically decreased it.

Impatiens glandulifera is one of the Bach flower remedies, flower extracts used as herbal remedies for physical and emotional problems. It is included in the “Rescue Remedy” or “Five Flower Remedy”, a potion touted as a treatment for acute anxiety and which is supposed to be protective in stressful situations. Studies have found no difference between the effect of the potion and that of a placebo.

All Impatiens taste bitter and seem to be slightly toxic upon ingestion, causing intestinal ailments like vomiting and diarrhea. The toxic compounds have not been identified but are probably the same as those responsible for the bitter taste, likely might be glycosides or alkaloids.

?-Parinaric acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid discovered in the seeds of the makita tree (Atuna racemosa racemosa), is together with linolenic acid the predominant component of the seed fat of garden jewelweed (I. balsamina), and perhaps other species of Impatiens. This is interesting from a phylogenetic perspective, because the makita tree is a member of the Chrysobalanaceae in a lineage of eudicots entirely distinct from the balsams.

Certain jewelweeds, including the garden jewelweed contain the naphthoquinone lawsone, a dye that is also found in henna (Lawsonia inermis) and is also the hair coloring and skin coloring agent in mehndi. In ancient China, Impatiens petals mashed with rose and orchid petals and alum were used as nail polish: leaving the mixture on the nails for some hours colored them pink or reddish.

Impatiens has been listed as one of the 38 plants that are used to prepare Bach flower remedies, a kind of alternative medicine promoted for its effect on health. However according to Cancer Research UK, “there is no scientific evidence to prove that flower remedies can control, cure or prevent any type of disease, including cancer”

Other Uses:  A yellow dye has been made from the flowers.

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impatiens
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/j/jewelw08.html

Poison ivy

Botanical Name :  Rhus Toxicodendron
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus:     Toxicodendron
Species: T. radicans

Synonyms: Poison Oak, Poison Vine, Toxicodendron radicans and Rhus radicans

Common Names : Poison ivy, Eastern Poison Oak

Habitat :  Poison ivy  grows throughout much of North America, including the Canadian Maritime provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and all U.S. states east of the Rocky Mountains, as well as in the mountainous areas of Mexico up to around 1,500 m (4,900 ft) (caquistle or caxuistle is the Nahuatl term ). It is normally found in wooded areas, especially along edge areas where the tree line breaks and allows sunshine to filter through. It also grows in exposed rocky areas, open fields and disturbed areas.

It may grow as a forest understory plant, although it is only somewhat shade tolerant.  The plant is extremely common in suburban and exurban areas of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and southeastern United States. The similar species T. diversilobum (western poison oak) and T. rydbergii (western poison ivy) are found in western North America.

Rhus Toxicodendron or Toxicodendron radicans rarely grows at altitudes above 1,500 m (4,900 ft), although the altitude limit varies in different locations. The plants can grow as a shrub up to about 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) tall, as a groundcover 10–25 cm (3.9–9.8 in) high, or as a climbing vine on various supports. Older vines on substantial supports send out lateral branches that may be mistaken for tree limbs at first glance.

It grows in a wide variety of soil types, and soil pH from 6.0 (acidic) to 7.9 (moderately alkaline). It is not particularly sensitive to soil moisture, although it does not grow in desert or arid conditions. It can grow in areas subject to seasonal flooding or brackish water.

It is more common now than when Europeans first arrived in North America. The development of real estate adjacent to wild, undeveloped land has engendered “edge effects”, enabling poison ivy to form vast, lush colonies in these areas. It is listed as a noxious weed in the US states of Minnesota and Michigan and in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Outside North America,Toxicodendron radicans is also found in the temperate parts of Asia, in Japan, Taiwan, the Russian islands of Sakhalin and the Kuriles, and in parts of China.

A study by researchers at the University of Georgia found that poison ivy is particularly sensitive to CO2 levels, greatly benefiting from higher CO2 in the atmosphere. Poison ivy’s growth and potency has already doubled since the 1960s, and it could double again once CO2 levels reach 560 ppm

Description:
There are numerous subspecies and/or varieties of T. radicans , which can be found growing in any of the following forms, all have woody stems:

* as a trailing vine that is 10–25 centimetres (3.9–9.8 in) tall
* as a shrub up to 1.2 metres (3 ft 11 in) tall
* as a climbing vine that grows on trees or some other support
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The deciduous leaves of T. radicans are trifoliate with three almond-shaped leaflets. Leaf color ranges from light green (usually the younger leaves) to dark green (mature leaves), turning bright red in fall; though other sources say leaves are reddish when expanding, turn green through maturity, then back to red, orange, or yellow in the fall. The leaflets of mature leaves are somewhat shiny. The leaflets are 3–12 cm (1.2–4.7 in) long, rarely up to 30 cm (12 in). Each leaflet has a few or no teeth along its edge, and the leaf surface is smooth. Leaflet clusters are alternate on the vine, and the plant has no thorns. Vines growing on the trunk of a tree become firmly attached through numerous aerial rootlets.[5] The vines develop adventitious roots, or the plant can spread from rhizomes or root crowns. The milky sap of poison ivy darkens after exposure to the air.

T. radicans spreads either vegetatively or sexually. It is dioecious; flowering occurs from May to July. The yellowish- or greenish-white flowers are typically inconspicuous and are located in clusters up to 8 cm (3.1 in) above the leaves. The berry-like fruit, a drupe, mature by August to November with a grayish-white colour. Fruits are a favorite winter food of some birds and other animals. Seeds are spread mainly by animals and remain viable after passing through the digestive tract.

Aids for identification:
The following four characteristics are sufficient to identify poison ivy in most situations: (a) clusters of three leaflets, (b) alternate leaf arrangement, (c) lack of thorns, and (d) each group of three leaflets grows on its own stem, which connects to the main vine.

The appearance of poison ivy can vary greatly between environments, and even within a single area. Identification by experienced people is often made difficult by leaf damage, the plant’s leafless condition during winter, and unusual growth forms due to environmental or genetic factors.

Various mnemonic rhymes describe the characteristic appearance of poison ivy:[8]

1.   “Leaflets three; let it be” is the best known and most useful cautionary rhyme. It applies to poison oak, as well as to poison ivy. Even though it is not always true.

2.   “Hairy vine, no friend of mine. ”

3.   “Berries white, run in fright” and “Berries white, danger in sight.

Cultivation : 
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. Judging by the plants natural habitat, it should also succeed in poor acid soils and dry soils. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species is a small suckering shrub, it can spread freely in suitable conditions. There is some confusion over the correct name of this species. It is united with R. radicans (under that name) by some botanists whilst others split this species off into another genus, Toxicodendron, and unite it with R. radicans as Toxicodendron radicans. Many of the species in this genus, including this one, are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter.

Edible Uses: Oil.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used Medicinally: The fresh leaves, from which a fluid extract is prepared.

Constituents: The activity of the drug was formerly ascribed to a fixed oil, Toxicodendrol, but has been attributed more recently to a yellow resin, to which the name Toxicodendrin is applied.

It is Irritant, rubefacient, stimulant, narcotic.

R. Toxicodendron was introduced into England first in 1640, but not used as a medicine till 1798, when Du Fressoy, a physician at Valenciennes, had brought to his notice a young man, who had been cured of a herpetic eruption on his wrist of six years’ standing on being accidentally poisoned by this plant. He thereupon commenced the use of the plant in the treatment of obstinate herpetic eruptions and in palsy, many cases yielding well to the drug. Since then it has rapidly gained a place in general practice, meeting with some success in the treatment of paralysis, acute rheumatism and articular stiffness, and in various forms of chronic and obstinate eruptive diseases.

It is not official in the British Pharmacopoeia, but was formerly official in the United States Pharmacopceia. It is in extensive use by homoeopathists for rheumatism, ringworm and other skin disorders, and is considered by them one of the most useful remedies in a great majority of cases of Nettlerash, especially if caused by some natural predisposition of constitution, in which the eruption is due to the use of some particular food.

The fluid extract, prepared from the fresh leaves, is mostly given in the form of a tincture, in doses of 5 to 30 drops. In small doses it is an excellent sedative to the nervous system, but must be given with care, as internally it may cause gastric intestinal irritation, drowsiness, stupor and delirium.

It has been recommended in cases of incontinence of urine. For this, the bark of the root of R. aromatica is also employed very successfully, an infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water being taken in wineglassful doses.

The fluid extract of R. Toxicodendron can be used as a vesicant or blister producer, like cantharides, mezeron, and oil of Mustard.

The best preparation is a concentrated alcoholic tincture made from the green plant in the strength of 1 in 4. The dose of 25 per cent tincture is given in 1 to 5 drops three times a day. A solid extract is not used owing to the extreme volatility of the active principles of the crude drug.

Its milky juice is also used as an indelible ink for marking linen, and as an ingredient of liquid dressings or varnishes for finishing boots or shoes, though R. venenata is more extensively used for the latter purpose.

Other Uses :
Dye; Ink; Mordant; Oil; Parasiticide; Tannin; Varnish.
The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The milky juice makes an excellent indelible marking ink for linen etc. It is also used as a varnish for boots and shoes.

Known Hazards: This plant contains toxic substances and skin contact with it can cause severe irritation to some people. The sap is extremely poisonous. The sap contains 3-N pentadecycatechnol. Many people are exceedingly sensitive to this, it causes a severe spreading dermatitis. The toxins only reach the skin if the plant tissues have been damaged, but even indirect contact can cause severe problems.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/ivypoi17.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+toxicodendron

Impatiens capensis

Botanical Name :Impatiens capensis
Family: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens
Species: I. capensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Impatiens biflora – Walter, Impatiens fulva – Nutt

Common Names: Orange Jewelweed, Common Jewelweed, Spotted Jewelweed, Spotted Touch-me-not, or Orange Balsam  Jewelweed, Wild Balsam. Balsam-weed. Impatiens, Spotted Touch-me-not, Lady’s Eardrops, Lady’s Slipper.

Habitat :Impatiens capensis is native to  N. America – Newfoundland to Saskatchewan. Naturalized in Britain.
It grows  along the banks of rivers and canals, also in low-lying moist woodlands, avoiding acid soils.

Description:
Impatiens capensis is an Annual plant  growing to 1.2m at a fast rate.It is hardy to zone 2. It is in flower from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
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The flowers are orange with a three-lobed corolla; one of the calyx lobes is colored similarly to the corolla and forms a hooked conical spur at the back of the flower. Plants may also produce non-showy cleistogamous flowers, which do not require cross-pollination. The stems are somewhat translucent, succulent, and have swollen or darkened nodes. The seed pods are pendant and have projectile seeds that explode out of the pods when they are lightly touched, if ripe, which is where the name ‘touch-me-not’ comes from. The leaves appear to be silver or ‘jeweled’ when held underwater, which is possibly where the jewelweed name comes from. .

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich soil in a cool shady site. Plants self-sow in areas where minimum winter temperatures go no lower than -15°c. This plant has seed capsules that spring open forcibly as the seed ripens to eject the seed a considerable distance. The capsules are sensitive to touch even before the seed is ripe, making seed collection difficult but fun.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

 

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed; Stem.

The succulent stems, whilst still young and tender, can be cut up and cooked like green beans. Young leaves and shoots – cooked. They contain calcium oxalate crystals. Calcium oxalate is usually destroyed by thorough cooking. Large quantities of the leaves are purgative. See also the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:

Antidote; Poultice; Stings; Warts.
The juice from the broken stem is a well-known folk remedy for poison ivy rash. It also works on poison oak. Can be frozen into small ice cubes and used. Also relieves the pain of insect bites, nettle stings, burns, sprains, ringworm and various skin diseases. The juice is also made into an ointment for hemorrhoids, warts and corns. It used to be taken for jaundice and asthma.

Jewelweed was commonly used as a medicinal herb by a number of native North American Indian tribes, and has been widely used in domestic medicine.Along with other species of jewelweed it is a traditional remedy for skin rashes, although controlled studies have not shown efficacy for this purpose  Its main value lies in its external application for wounds and a range of skin complaints. However, it is little used in modern herbalism and is considered to be dangerous and ‘wholly questionable’ when used internally. The herb is antidote, cathartic, diuretic and emetic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of fevers, difficult urination, measles, stomach cramps, jaundice etc. The juice of the leaves is used externally in the treatment of piles, fungal dermatitis, nettle stings, poison ivy rash, burns etc. The sap is used to remove warts. A poultice of the leaves is applied to bruises, burns, cuts etc.

Herbal Baths are a great way to treat widespread rashes, and heat rashes in those hard to reach places that flare up in summer time. A soothing bath of chamomile and oatmeal is a luxurious way to start the healing process. A simple home remedy that most everyone has on hand is baking soda and vinegar. Just add about 2 cups of vinegar and a tablespoon of baking soda to a tepid bath to and relax away the hurt. This simple bath also works well on sunburns. Baths with  tea bags of full of green or black tea will help dry the rashes and stop itching, all for pennies an a bath. For an especially bad rash you may want to use comfrey leaf in your bath or as a skin wash.

Other Uses:

Dye; Fungicide.

The fresh juice obtained from the plant is a fungicide. This juice can be concentrated by boiling it. A yellow dye has been made from the flowers. It can be made from the whole plant.

Known Hazards:Regular ingestion of large quantities of these plants can be dangerous due to their high mineral content. This report, which seems nonsensical, might refer to calcium oxalate. This mineral is found in I. capensis and so is probably also in other members of the genus. It can be harmful raw but is destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Impatiens+capensis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impatiens_capensis
http://www.anniesremedy.com/chart_remedy.php?tag=rashes

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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Polygonum persicaria

Botanical Name : Polygonum persicaria
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Persicaria
Species: P. maculosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : Polygonum maculata, Persicaria maculosa.Polygonum ruderalis, Polygonum ruderalis, Polygonum vulgaris, Polygonum dubium, Polygonum fusiforme, Polygonum minus and Polygonum puritanorum.

Common Names :Persicaria, Redleg, Lady’s-thumb, Spotted Ladysthumb, Gambetta, and Adam’s Plaster

Habitat :Polygonum persicaria is native to Europe, it is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region where it was first spotted in 1843. Grows in roadside and damp places.

Description:
Polygonum persicaria is an annual/ perennial plant.It grows up to 1 m high, and has narrow, lancet-shaped leaves 8–10 cm long. The leaves often have a brown or black spot. The white, pink or red flowers are in dense panicles and flower from early summer to late autumn and the seeds ripen from Aug to October.It is hardy to zone 5.

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It is native to Europe and Asia, where it can be mistaken for Polygonum minus, but P. minus has narrower leaves, usually less than 1 cm wide, while its ear is slimmer.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Self.The plant is self-fertile.

It has been introduced to North America and is naturalised in all mainland states, being found along roadsides, riverbanks, and on fallow ground. In the USA, it is very similar to Pennsylvania smartweed, but Redshank has a fringe of hairs at the top of the ocrea, something which Pennsylvania smartweed lacks.

Cultivation:      
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade. Repays generous treatment. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.

Propagation:   
Seed – sow spring in situ.

 Edible Uses  
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Leaves and young shoots – raw or cooked. They contain about 1.9% fat, 5.4% pectin, 3.2% sugars, 27.6% cellulose, 1% tannin. Seed – raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent;  Diuretic;  Lithontripic;  Poultice;  Rubefacient;  Vermifuge.

The leaves are astringent, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. An infusion has been used as a treatment for gravel and stomach pains. A decoction of the plant, mixed with flour, has been used as a poultice to help relieve pain. A decoction of the plant has been used as a foot and leg soak in the treatment of rheumatism. The crushed leaves have been rubbed on poison ivy rash.

The Anglo-Saxons used Polygonum persicaria as a remedy for sore eyes and ears.  They called it Untrodden to Pieces, perhaps because it was so hardy and though that it survived even being stepped upon or otherwise crushed.

Other Uses  
Dye.

A yellow dye is obtained from the plant when alum is used as a mordant.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) – whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygonum_persicaria
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Polygonum+persicaria
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

Arisaema triphyllum

Botanical Name : Arisaema triphyllum
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Arisaemateae
Genus: Arisaema
Species: A. triphyllum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

Common Names: Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Bog onion, Brown dragon, Indian turnip, Wake robin or Wild turnip

Habitat : Arisaema triphyllum is native to eastern North America, occurring in moist woodlands and thickets from Nova Scotia west to Minnesota, and south to southern Florida.

Description:
Arisaema triphyllum is a highly variable species typically growing from 30 to 65 cm in height with three parted leaves and flowers contained in a spadix that is covered by a hood.
The 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 cm long and 3-7 cm 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 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.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 3.

Edible Uses:
If the plant is properly dried or cooked it can be eaten as a root vegetable.

Chemical constituents::
The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals as raphides in all parts, and because of this consumption of the raw plant material results in a powerful burning sensation. It can cause irritation of the mouth and digestive system, and on rare occasions the swelling of the mouth and throat may be severe enough to affect breathing.

Medicinal uses:
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.

Warning:
The oxalic acid in jack in the pulpit is poisonous if ingested. Care should also be taken to avoid confusion with poison ivy, which has 3 leaflets somewhat similar in appearance.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arisaema_triphyllum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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