Jack-in-the-Pulpit

 
A green jack-in-the-pulpit plant with three leaves and unusual green flower.

Introduction

This curious-looking flower may grow up to two feet tall in well-moistened, rich soils in eastern deciduous forests. The spathe is green with a flap that hangs over the spadix, which holds the tiny flowers at its base making them difficult to see. Each plant has one or two large, three-lobed leaves. In autumn, the cluster of bright red berries are borne aloft at the tip of the stalk.

Few wild mammals will feed on this plant as all parts of the Jack-in-the-Pulpit contain calcium oxalate crystals making the plant unpalatable and poisonous. Agricultural experts suggest that livestock should be excluded from pastures and forests in which Jack-in-the-Pulpit grows until other more benign plants turn green lessening the likelihood of poisoning. Some birds, including wild turkeys, will eat the berries.

Blooms: April--June

Fascinating Facts

  • The Jack-in-the-pulpit gets its common name from the appearance of a pastor in a pulpit; the spadix is the “Jack” while the spathe is the “pulpit.”
  • The Jack-in-the-Pulpit is sometimes misidentified as poison ivy early in the year before the spathe and spadix develop because of its three part leaves

Find It

Battle Creek Regional Park
Coon Rapids Regional Park (East and West)

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Last updated: March 7, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101

Phone:

(651) 293-0200
This is the general phone line at the Mississippi River Visitor Center. Please leave a voicemail if we miss your call and expect a return call within 1 day, often sooner.

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