Common Jack in the Pulpit Arisaema triphyllum (Linnaeus) Schott  Synonyms: Arisaema atrorubrens.

Status:

The Common Jack in the Pulpit is a native wildflower of rich shaded woods. This plant like soils with moisture so look for Common Jack in the Pulpit along the edges of forested streams and seepy wooded hillsides. Common Jack in the Pulpit has been recorded in every Maryland County and Baltimore City. Jack in the Pulpit taxonomy is hotly disputed. Here at the Maryland Biodiversity Project we follow the taxonomy of Knapp & Naczi, 2017 which states that Maryland has three distinct species of Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum, Arisaema pusillum and Arisaema stewardsonii).

Common Jack in the Pulpit begins to bloom towards the end of April and flowering lasts through May. Fruits begin to appear in late summer and turn red in the fall.

Description:

From the Missouri Botanical Garden website: Jack-in-the-pulpit, is a spring woodland wildflower usually growing 1- 2' tall. Flower structure consists of the spadix (Jack) which is an erect spike containing numerous, tiny, green to purple flowers and the sheath-like spathe (pulpit) which encases the lower part of the spadix and then opens to form a hood extending over the top of the spadix. The outside of the spathe is usually green or purple and the inside is usually striped purple and greenish white, though considerable color variations exist. Two large green, compound, long-petioled leaves (1-1.5' long), divided into three leaflets each, emanate upward from a single stalk and provide umbrella-like shade to the flower.

Bog Jack in the Pulpit is typically the same size as Common Jack in the Pulpit but lives in more boggy type habitats. Where I have observed Bog Jack in the Pulpit in Maryland it was growing totally out in the open in a small bog in a power line right of way. The spathe of Bog Jack in the Pulpit is very fluted (ridged) and bends over to where it almost completely envelopes the flower. The spathe of Common Jack in the Pulpit may bend over the flower but doesn't encase the bloom and is not ridged like Bog Jack in the Pulpit. Bog Jack in the Pulpit also blooms almost a month later than the other two Jack in the Pulpit species.

Small Jack in the Pulpit often grows in the same habitat and blooms the same time as Common Jack in the Pulpit. As the name implies Small Jack in the Pulpit is considerably smaller in stature than Common Jack in the Pulpit. The spathe may be purple or green and is typically not striped with white as the spathe of the Common Jack in the Pulpit. The purple on the spathe of Small Jack in the Pulpit also is only on the top of the spathe and does not dip below the top of the flower.

Looking at the foliage of the plant also helps in distinguishing the species. The underside of the leaves of Common Jack in the Pulpit are usually glaucous while the other two species of Jack in the Pulpit are not glaucous but straight green.

Where to find:

Look for Common Jack in the Pulpit along rich mesic forested hillsides and just off the banks of wooded streams.

Relationships:

Host to Jack in the Pulpit Rust.

There are 396 records in the project database.

View species at Maryland Plant Atlas

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Jack in the Pulpits blooming in Calvert Co., Maryland (5/2/2014). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

Jack in the Pulpit in Baltimore Co., Maryland (2004). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Common Jack in the Pulpit in Baltimore Co., Maryland (4/24/2016). Photo by Rose Anderson. (MBP list)

Jack in the Pulpit emerging in late fall in Howard Co., Maryland (11/6/2013). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

Common Jack in the Pulpit growing in Kent Co., Maryland (4/27/2014). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

A Common Jack in the Pulpit sprout in Howard Co., Maryland (5/2/2015). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

Jack-in-the-pulpit fruit - Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (6/10/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Common Jack in the Pulpit with fruit in Howard Co., Maryland (7/10/2015). Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

Common Jack in the Pulpit in seed in Caroline Co., Maryland (6/26/2016). Photo by Nick Dumais. (MBP list)

Jack in the Pulpit in Prince George's Co., Maryland (8/28/2014). Photo by Fritz Flohr Reynolds. (MBP list)

Common Jack in the Pulpit in Howard Co., Maryland (4/27/2010). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Common Jack in the Pulpit in Somerset Co., Maryland (5/6/2015). Photo by Lance Biechele. (MBP list)

Common Jack in the Pulpit growing in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/20/2010). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Common Jack in the Pulpit in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/19/2011). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Common Jack in the Pulpit in Howard Co., Maryland (4/24/2014). Photo by Maddie Koenig. (MBP list)

The fruit of a Jack in the Pulpit in Calvert Co., Maryland (8/22/2013). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

The fruit of Jack in the Pulpit in Garrett Co., Maryland (9/5/2014). Photo by Matt Tillett. (MBP list)

Ripe Jack in the Pulpit fruit being examined by students at Jemicy School in Baltimore Co., Maryland (9/2012) Photo by Emily Stanley. (MBP list)


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