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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

Jack-in-the-Pulpit is a favorite woodland wildflower because of its curious flowers. The closest relative of this species is Arisaema dracontium (Green Dragon). Green Dragon also occurs in moist to mesic woodlands, but it is less common in Illinois. Each flower of Green Dragon has a long narrow spadix that protrudes above the spathe; the latter is narrowly cylindrical. The foliage of these two species differs as well
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Description

This native perennial plant is about 1-2' tall. It consists of 1-2 trifoliate leaves with long petioles and a stout peduncle (or stalk) with a single flower at its apex. Both the petioles and the peduncle develop directly from the corm; the peduncle is wrapped by a sheath at its base and it is shorter than the petioles. They both have a smooth hairless surface, and their color varies from light green to reddish green or brownish green. The light green to dark green leaflets are up to 7" long and 3" across; they are ovate or broadly rhombic, pinnately veined, glabrous, and smooth along the margins. The terminal leaflet is larger than the lateral leaflets. Jack-in-the-Pulpit is usually monoecious, but some plants are unisexual and they have the capability to change their gender. The whitish green to reddish green flower is about 3½" long and 2" across, consisting of a spadix and spathe. The light green spadix is cylindrical in shape; the male flowers are located above the female flowers on the lower half of the spadix, where they are hidden from view by the surrounding spathe. These flowers are tiny in size and they lack corollas and calyxes. The male flowers have several stamens, while the female flowers have a single pistil. The spathe loosely surrounds the spadix, exposing only its upper portion (the "Jack" of the flower). The upper part of the spathe develops behind the spadix and then curves over it, providing a protective hood (the "Pulpit" of the flower). This spathe varies from light green to reddish green in color; its tubular base is slightly furrowed and often has white or burgundy stripes.  The blooming period occurs from mid- to late-spring and lasts about 2 weeks, although the spadix and spathe remain attractive for a longer period of time. The flowers may emanate a faint scent that resembles stagnant water or fungi; if so, it is difficult to detect through the human nose. If cross-pollination occurs, each fertilized flower will develop a fleshy red fruit about ¼" across; this fruit contains one or more seeds. Collectively, these fruits can form an ovoid mass up to 2" long. The root system consists of a corm up to 1½" across with secondary roots.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Arum triphyllum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 965. 1753; Arisaema acuminatum Small; A. atrorubens (Aiton) Blume; A. polymorphum (Buckley) Chapman; A. pusillum (Peck) Nash; A. quinatum (Nuttall) Schott; A. stewardsonii Britton; A. triphyllum subsp. pusillum (Peck) Huttleston; A. triphyllum subsp. quinatum (Nuttall) Huttleston; A. triphyllum subsp. stewardsonii (Britton) Huttleston; A. triphyllum var. pusillum Peck; A. triphyllum var. stewardsonii (Britton) Stevens ex Wiegand & Eames
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Ecology

Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers are pollinated by fungus gnats (Sciaridae & Mycetophilidae) and the larvae of parasitic thrips. In particular, the oligolectic thrips Heterothrips arisaemae and probably Ctenothrips bridwelli are attracted to the flowers of Jack-in-the-Pulpit. The foliage and corms (especially the latter) contain crystals of calcium oxalate, which can cause a burning sensation in the mouth and irritation of the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, mammalian herbivores rarely eat this plant. However, some upland gamebirds feed on the foliage occasionally, including Meleagris gallopavo (Wild Turkey). The red berries are eaten by some woodland birds, including Hylocichla mustelina (Wood Thrush) and the Wild Turkey. Photographic Location
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Jack-in-the-Pulpit in Illinois

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-Pulpit)
(insects may suck nectar, or they are lured by the fungus-like scent of the flowers; Nematocera are several families of fungus gnats and other midge-like flies; observations are from Robertson)

Diptera
Nematocera: About 7 Unidentified spp.

Plant Bugs
Nabidae: Nabis ferus

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Arisaema triphyllum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Arisaema triphyllum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T4 - Apparently Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Threats

Comments: Somewhat threatened by land-use conversion, habitat fragmentation, and forest management practices; highly threatened by sedimentation (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is dappled sunlight to light shade during the spring, when vegetative growth and flowering occurs; medium shade is tolerated later in the year. The soil should be moist to mesic and contain an abundance of organic material from decaying leaves and other material. It is easier to start plants from corms, rather than seeds. Range & Habitat
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Economic Uses

Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG

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Wikipedia

Arisaema triphyllum

"Brown dragon" redirects here. For other uses, see Brown dragon (disambiguation).

Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit, bog onion, brown dragon, Indian turnip, American wake robin,[2] or wild turnip) is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a corm. It is a highly variable species typically growing 30–65 centimetres (12–26 in) in height with three-parted leaves and flowers contained in a spadix that is covered by a hood. It is native to eastern North America, occurring in moist woodlands and thickets from Nova Scotia west to Minnesota, and south to southern Florida and Texas.[1]

Description[edit]

Jack-in-the-pulpit in the Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania, USA
Common jack-in-the-pulpit found in Midwestern US forests

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 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.[3] 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 by 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.

It is hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 3.

Chemical composition and medicinal uses[edit]

Plants in early spring before the leaves have fully unfolded

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.

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

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.

History and folklore[edit]

One account from the Meskwaki Indians states that they would chop the herb's corm and mix it with meat and leave the meat out for their enemies to find. The taste of the oxalate would not be detectable because of the flavored meat, but consuming the meat reportedly caused their enemies pain and death. They also used it to determine the fate of the sick by dropping a seed in a cup of stirred water; If the seed went around four times clockwise, the patient would recover, if it went around less than four times they would not.[4]

Warning[edit]

The oxalic acid in jack-in-the-pulpit is poisonous if ingested.[5] Care should also be taken to avoid confusion with poison ivy, which has three leaflets somewhat similar in appearance.

Classification and relationships[edit]

Arisaema triphyllum is generally considered to be a single species with three subspecies. A. triphyllum subsp. stewardsonii and A. triphyllum subsp. pusillum are diploids, and A. triphyllum subsp. triphyllum is a tetraploid which originated as a hybrid of the first two. However, the three are reproductively isolated in the wild, which would argue for treating them as species. The main reason for considering them subspecies seems to be the difficulty in distinguishing them, especially based on herbarium specimens.[6][7]

Within the genus Arisaema, A. triphyllum is classified in the section Pedatisecta and is most closely related to Asian species such as A. amurense.

It is not a close relative to the other American Arisaema species (the North American A. dracontium and the Mexican A. macrophyllum), which are in a different section of Arisaema.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Arisaema triphyllum, Green Plant Swap
  3. ^ "Jack in the Pulpit Wildflowers". 
  4. ^ "Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) Julia M created the name and discovered this endangered plant for all to find". Archived from the original on 12 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  5. ^ "Jack-in-the-pulpit". Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  6. ^ The Arisaema triphyllum complex, based in part on Treiber, M., 1980. Biosystematics of the Arisaema triphyllum Complex. PhD Dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
  7. ^ 1. Arisaema triphyllum (Linnaeus) Schott, Flora of North America
  8. ^ Renner, S. S.; Zhang, L.-B.; Murata, J. (2004). "A chloroplast phylogeny of Arisaema (Araceae) illustrates Tertiary floristic links between Asia, North America, and East Africa". American Journal of Botany 91 (6): 881. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.6.881. 
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Notes

Comments

Although these morphological forms may be recognizable in the field, distinguishing these differences in herbarium specimens is often difficult, and there is much overlap occurs in expression of the characteristics supposedly defining infraspecific taxa. Numerous intermediate forms exist, including putative hybrid populations be tween the subspecies with 2n = 42 (D. G. Huttleston 1949, 1953). Given these problems and the sympatric ranges of the "subspecies" recognized by previous workers, A. triphyllum is treated here as one highly variable species. 

 In addition to the above variability within the Arisaema triphyllum complex, putative hybrid populations between A. triphyllum and A. dracontium also occur naturally (L. L. Sanders and C. J. Burk 1992). These plants do not produce mature fruits but do reproduce vegetatively.

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