Aquilegia canadensis #1 (Wild Columbine)May 19, 2020
Aruncus dioicus #1 (Goat’s Beard)May 19, 2020
Arisaema triphyllum 3qt (Jack-in-the-Pulpit)
Jack-in-the-Pulpit is a native woodland wildflower that is a traditional harbinger of spring and thrives in rich woods and partially shaded boggy areas. Its common name describes the intriguing “flower” consisting of a green to purplish, sometimes striped spathe, which is the “pulpit”, and a green to whitish spadix, which is “Jack”. The actual blooming period is about two weeks long in mid to late spring, but it is inconspicuous taking place on the spadix, within the hooded structure of the spathe. Most plants will only have male flowers when they are young and will not make fruits. As they get to be more mature, and if they have a favorable environment and climatic conditions, the plant will make both flower sexes and will seek to be pollinated (mostly by fungus gnats.)
Strong, mature plants within a colony that have been pollinated will then begin to form seeds and will not go dormant, while the unfertilized and younger plants will fade out until the next season. The plants shed their entire root systems as they go dormant and persist through the winter as a corm. The corms produce offshoots which will eventually become independent plants. Along with spreading by seed (which takes about five years to produce a flowering plant) the corm reproduction is how a colony of Jack-in-the-Pulpit can get established.
The spathe and the spadix, which are the prominent ornamental features aside from the three-parted leaves, provide many weeks of interest. Fertilized plants remain through summer until the spathe dries up and falls off, revealing the bright red berries on a structure that looks like corn on the cob. These berries are eaten by small mammals and birds, but beware: They contain calcium oxalates that can cause irritation if ingested, so precautions should be taken with children and dogs.
Growing and Propagating Wildflowers by William Cullina
Growing and Propagating Wild Flowers by Harry R. Phillips
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Morton Arboretum-Black Walnut Tolerance