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Arisaema

Jack-In-The-Pulpit
Araceae
Perennials

Curious rather than beautiful relatives of calla (Zantedeschia), attractive both to children and to fanciers of the odd. Flowers are tiny, crowded on a club-shaped fleshy spike (spadix) surrounded by an overarching flower bract (spathe) that is usually green or dull purple in color and often striped in a contrasting color.

In late spring, tubers send up one to three leaves, each divided into three or more leaflets. Inflorescences appear on a separate stalk in spring or early summer. As flowers fade, spathe withers and spadix forms orange to red seeds.

These are woodland plants, appreciative of organic material in the soil. Plant in fall, setting tubers 1 ft. apart, 2 in. deep. Plants die to the ground in winter; don’t let dormant tubers dry out completely.

Arisaema sikokianum
Arisaema sikokianum

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Arisaema sikokianum

From Japan. Grows to 20 in. tall, with 6 in. leaflets. A 4–12-in. stalk supports a 6-in. spathe that is erect rather than arching. Spathe is purplish brown on the outside, yellowish white within; spadix is pure white and expanded at the tip.

Arisaema triphyllum

From eastern North America, this is the common Jack-in-the-pulpit familiar to Easterners. Grows to 2 ft. tall. Both the spathe and the spadix are green or purple; the spathe is striped in white or green.

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