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Jack-in-the-pulpit in full flower.

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.


Botanical name:

Arisaema triphyllum

All common names:

Jack-in-the-pulpit, Indian Turnip

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Massing,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Occasional flooding

Seasons of Interest:

  • early spring,
  • mid spring,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Other

Shape or Form:

  • Thicket-forming,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:


Upright perennial reaching 1 to 2 feet high.

Plant Care

Prefers light shade in spring but tolerant of deeper shade in summer.
Best in a moist, organic-rich soil. Does not tolerate dry soil.
Underground corms produce bulblets and send off out shoots.

Disease, pests, and problems

None serious

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Eastern U. S. in moist, shady deciduous woods and hillsides.
C-Value: 4

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Berries are poisonous but a few birds will eat them.

Leaf description

Two 3-lobed leaves on 12-inch long petioles. The leaves are elliptical and 9 inches long.
Dark green to medium green, sometimes with 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 pollen-bearing male flowers near the tip and female flowers near the base.
Often monoecious with male and female plants separate. Does  have the capability of changing gender.

Fruit description

Cluster of berries turn red in the fall. 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

Location of Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit) at the Arboretum