Arisaema triphyllum (L.) Schott

Jack-in-the-pulpit

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Jack-in-the-pulpit has leaves with three leaflets, distinguishing it from its congener green-dragon (Arisaema dracontium), which has 5-13 leaflets per leaf. Native Americans used the roots of jack-in-the -pulpit for a large variety of medicinal purposes, especially eye and respiratory conditions. They considered the root very poisonous without careful preparation. There are three subspecies present in New England.

Habitat

Bogs, fens, floodplain (river or stream floodplains), forests, marshes, shores of rivers or lakes, swamps, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf arrangement
basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Leaf blade shape
  • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
  • the leaf blade is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
  • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
Leaf blade length
Up to 300 mm
Flower petal color
NA
Flower petal length
0 mm
Petal fusion
NA
Inflorescence type
  • the inflorescence differs from the choices given
  • the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
Ovary position
the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
Fruit type (specific)
the fruit is a berry (fleshy, with the wall enclosing one or more sections, with two or more seeds)
Fruit length
6–15 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Axillary bulblets
    there are no bulblets being produced in axils
  • Flowers
    Anther attachment
    the anther is attached by its base to the filament
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
    Carpels fused
    NA
    Flower bract length
    0 mm
    Flower bracts
    there are no bracts associated with the flower
    Flower number
    3–900
    Flower orientation
    the flowers point upward or spread or curve outward
    Flower petal color
    NA
    Flower petal length
    0 mm
    Flower shape
    NA
    Flower symmetry
    NA
    Form of style
    the style is knob-like at the tip, and unbranched
    Fringed petal edges
    NA
    Hairs on flower stalk
    NA
    Inflorescence hair glands
    the axis of the inflorescence has no hairs on it
    Inflorescence length
    30–90 mm
    Inflorescence type
    • the inflorescence differs from the choices given
    • the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
    Length of flower stalk
    0 mm
    Length of peduncle
    30–200 mm
    Marks on petals
    NA
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    1
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals and/or petals
    there are no petals, sepals or tepals in the flower, or they are not clearly present
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes neither petals nor sepals
    Petal appearance
    NA
    Petal base
    NA
    Petal fusion
    NA
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    NA
    Petal nectaries
    NA
    Sepal appearance
    NA
    Sepal length
    0 mm
    Sepal orientation
    NA
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    NA
    Spathe
    the plant has a spathe surrounding the flower spike
    Spathe form
    the spathe encloses or nearly encloses the spike of flowers
    Spathe length
    60–160 mm
    Stamen number
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not fused to one another
    Stamens fused outwards
    NA
    Style petal-like
    the style is not broad and flattened like a petal
    Tepals
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    • orange
    • red
    Capsule ridges
    NA
    Fruit beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit compartments
    there is only one locule in the fruit
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is round in cross-section
    Fruit length
    6–15 mm
    Fruit stalk orientation
    NA
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is fleshy
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a berry (fleshy, with the wall enclosing one or more sections, with two or more seeds)
    Other markings on berry
    the ripe fruits are mostly one color without spots or streaks
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is milky and opaque, and may be white or colored
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Root septa
    the roots do not have transverse septa
    Underground organs
    • the plant has one or more swollen storage organs underground, such as bulbs, tubers or corms
    • there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade basal lobes
    the leaf blades do not have basal lobes
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    • the base of the leaf blade is rounded
    Leaf blade bloom
    • the underside of the leaf blade has a noticeable waxy or powdery bloom
    • the underside of the leaf blade has no noticeable waxy or powdery bloom
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section
    Leaf blade faces
    both surfaces of the leaf blade are exposed
    Leaf blade form
    Fully-formed (i.e., expanded), +/- green leaf blades are found somewhere on the plant
    Leaf blade length
    Up to 300 mm
    Leaf blade orientation
    the upper surface of the leaf blade faces the stem of the plant
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    Leaf blade veins
    the lateral veins are palmate, (and do not arch towards the leaf tip) or pinnate
    Leaf blade width
    Up to 200 mm
    Leaf stalk length
    300–600 mm
    Leaf type
    the leaves are compound with two or more leaflets on each leaf stalk
    Leaflet number
    3–5
    Stipule twining
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on this plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • bogs
    • edges of wetlands
    • fens
    • forests
    • marshes
    • river or stream floodplains
    • shores of rivers or lakes
    • swamps
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the leaves have no particular smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem growth form
    the flowering stem is held upright
    Flowering stem leaves
    there are no true leaves on the flowering stem
    Stem hairs
    NA

Wetland Status

Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FAC)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

ssp. pusillum

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

ssp. stewardsonii

Massachusetts
fairly widespread (S-rank: S4)

ssp. triphyllum

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Arisaema atrorubens (Ait.) Blume

Family

Araceae

Genus

Arisaema

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Arisaema triphyllum (L.) Schott ssp. triphyllum is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. A. triphyllum ssp. pusillum (Peck) Huttleston is known from CT, MA, RI, VT. A. triphyllum ssp. stewardsonii (Britt.) Huttleston is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT, and is restricted to wet soils.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Arisaema triphyllum (L.) Schott N

Jack-in-the-pulpit. 2a. Arisaema atrorubens (Ait.) Blume; 2b. Arisaema acuminatum Small; A. pusillum (Peck) Nash; A. triphyllum (L.) Schott var. pusillum Peck; 2c. Arisaema atrorubens (Ait.) Blume var. stewardsonii (Britt.) Stevens; A. stewardsonii Britt.; A. triphyllum (L.) Schott var. stewardsonii (Britt.) Stevens • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT; throughout. Mesic forests, swamps, riparian forests, peatlands, and wetland edges. Three varieties of Arisaema triphyllum are found in our area. They are morphologically distinct and show some ecological separation. Further, there are ploidy level differences between some of the taxa. Some authors choose not to recognize these varieties because hybridization is known between them and some characters are lost in pressing and drying. However, neither of these is a valid reason for not recognizing tracheophyte taxa. Characters such as presence vs. absence of bloom on the leaf blades, fluting of the spathe tube, and orientation of the spathe flange (all lost or obscured on herbarium specimens) are best noted in the field so they can be recorded on herbarium specimen labels.

1a.  Mature leaf blades glaucous abaxially; lateral leaflets very gibbous or even lobed near the base of the basiscopic margin; spathe flanges (2–) 4.5–7 (–9) mm wide, plane or slightly revolute; sterile spadix appendage clavate (rarely cylindric), 4–10 mm in diameter 
 … 2a. A. triphyllum ssp. triphyllum

1b.  Mature leaf blades green abaxially; lateral leaflets slightly to moderately gibbous near the base of the basiscopic margin; spathe flanges 1–3 mm wide, revolute; sterile spadix appendage cylindric (rarely clavate), 2–5 mm in diameter

2a.  Spathe tube not or only weakly fluted; spathe hood wholly green or wholly purple, without white stripes; spathe acuminate (less frequently acute) at the apex; plants occurring in rich, mesic forests, swamps, and peatlands 
 … 2b. A. triphyllum ssp. pusillum (Peck) Huttleston

2b.  Spathe tube strongly fluted; spathe hood green with white and/or purple stripes; spathe acute at the apex; plants occurring in swamps, marshes, low floodplains, and other hydric communities … 2c. A. triphyllum ssp. stewardsonii (Britt.) Huttleston

Subspecies triphyllum is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Subspecies pusillum is known from CT, MA, RI, VT. Subspecies stewardsonii is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. It is the most ecologically restricted of the subspecies and is ± confined to hydric soils.