Content Detail

Jack-in-the-pulpit is a common native wildflower found in deciduous, moist, shady woodlands, growing 1 to 2 feet tall. The unusual looking flower is a 4-7 inch spathe (pulpit) that folds over the spadix (Jack) creating a protective hood. A great addition to the woodland wildflower garden.

  • Family (English) Arum
  • Family (botanic) Araceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Occasional flooding
  • Season of interest early fall, early spring, mid fall, mid spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Other
  • Shape or form Thicket-forming, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size: 

An upright perennial reaching 1 to 2 feet high.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Jack-in-the-pulpit is native to the Eastern United States in moist, shady, deciduous woods and hillsides. C-Value: 4

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife: 

The berries are poisonous, but a few birds will eat them.

Leaf description: 

Two 3-lobed leaves are on 12-inch long petioles. The leaves are elliptical and 9 inches long. The dark green to medium green leaves sometimes have a purplish tinge.

Flower description: 

A very distinct flower, the spathe (pulpit) is 4 to 7 inches long and folds over the spadix (Jack) creating a protective hood. The spathe can be green to purple with greenish-white stripes. The spadix is cylindrical, with the pollen-bearing male flowers near the tip, and the female flowers near the base. Usually monoecious, having male and female flowers on the same plant, it has the capability of changing gender.

Fruit description: 

The cluster of berries turns red in the fall. They are poisonous to humans.

Related species:  Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium):

This unusual looking plant has a single, dark green leaf that is dissected into 7 to 15 deep lobes circling out from the stem. The plant can reach 2 to 3 feet high.  The flower is on a stalk that branches from a leaf near the ground. The yellow-green flowers of female plants produce berries that turn bright red in the fall.

Plant Care: 

Jack-in-the-Pulpit prefers light shade in the spring, but it is tolerant of deeper shade in the summer. It does best in a moist, organic-rich soil. It does not tolerate dry soil. Underground corms produce bulblets and send off out shoots.

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