Arisaema triphyllum, Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Jack in the Pulpit in a gallon sized pot

Jack in the Pulpit is an under-rated shade garden plant. Put it where you might have put Hosta and you've made a garden statement. Arisaema is an interesting genus with members all around the world. Our woodland native is no less unique. Specific plants are either male or female (the female bearing bright red fruit in late summer) but they can change their sex if need be. Therefore, not all fruit bearing plants will remain so, and the reverse is also true. Individual plants have a bulb-like corm from which it sprouts and these will multiply over time creating a small cluster. 

Although individual garden-grown specimens, in the right conditions, can get fairly large, plants in their natural habitat tend to be smaller. If growing them in your mostly shade, a couple of hours sun a day garden, make sure they receive adequate moisture -especially if it is droughty, hot, and windy. Jack in the Pulpit is surprisingly easy to grow and generally takes care of itself with enough moisture. 

Although rare, Jack in the Pulpit can pick up a fungal rust specific to Arisaema spp. If you notice yellow-green patterned or mottled foliage (see bottom-most image), look under the leaf for orange spores, and if seen, cut the plant at the base, dispose, and wait for it the following year. Unfortunately, rusts blow in on the wind. The best way to deal with rust before it shows up is to plant your Jack in the Pulpit in the right conditions and keep your eye on it during the growing season.

Blooms: greenish-white and maroon, late April to early July 

Height: 1 to 2 feet

Conditions: part shade to shade, moist to medium soils

Garden grown Jack in the Pulpit coming up along with the daffodils.

Garden grown Jack in the Pulpit can get quite large under the right conditions.

Multicolored fruit turn red at their ripest.