For Your Garden - March 2010
Are you ready for spring? Some of the native spring wildflowers will be blooming soon! Are you using native wildflowers in your landscaping? Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and disease. They also provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Their brilliantly colored blossoms and interesting shapes will make your landscape a showplace. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
Photo © 2009, River Valley Photographic Resources, Ltd., rvprltd.com
Jack-in-the-pulpit can be found in every Illinois county. It grows in woodlands that are rich in nutrients. Two leaves are usually present. Each leaf has three parts, and the leaf is borne on a long stalk. Tiny flowers develop at the bottom of a club-shaped structure known as the spadix. The spadix is covered by a leaflike structure, the spathe, which in this plant has a flap similar to a hood at the top. The spathe is green or brown purple and may be striped. The plant grows to a height of about one to two feet. Fruit develop as a cluster of berries that are bright red when mature. The common name for this plant derives from the rigid spadix (“Jack” or preacher) covered by the spathe (his canopied pulpit).
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.