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Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Araceae
Arisaema triphyllum


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb


Araceae Family

Arisaema Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Bog onion, Brown dragon, Indian turnip, Wake robin or Wild turnip, Indian Almond, Pepper Turnip, Marsh Pepper, Priest's Pentle, Wood Pulpit, Little Pulpit, Cuckoo Flower, Starchwort, Memory Root, Devil's Ear, Dragonroot, lords-and-ladies, & even occasionally, half in jest, Jill-in-the-Pulpit


Location

Native to eastern North America from Nova Scotia west to Minnesota, and south to southern Florida.

Physical Description
The leaves are trifoliate, with groups of three leaves growing together at the top of one long stem produced from a corm; each leaflet is 8-15 cm long and 3-7 cm broad. Plants are sometimes confused with Poison-ivy especially before the flowers appear or non-flowering plants. The inflorescences are shaped irregularly and grow to a length of up to 8 cm long. They are greenish-yellow with purple or brownish stripes. The spathe, known in this plant as "the pulpit" wraps around and covers over and contain a spadix ("Jack"), covered with tiny flowers of both sexes. The flowers are unisexual, in small plants most if not all the flowers are male, as plants age and grow larger the spadix produces more female flowers. This species flowers from April to June. The fruit are smooth, shiny green, 1 cm wide berries clustered on the thickened spadix. The fruits ripen in late summer and fall, turning a bright red color before the plants go dormant. Each berry produces 1 to 5 seeds typically, the seeds are white to light tan in color, rounded, often with flattened edges and a short sharp point at the top and a rounded bottom surface. If the seeds are freed from the berry they will germinate the next spring, producing a plant with a single rounded leaf. Seedlings need three or more years of growth before they become large enough to flower. In addition the plant is not self pollinating since the male flowers on a specific plant have already matured and died before the female flowers of that same plant are mature. So the female flowers need to be pollinated by the male flowers of a different plant. This inhibits inbreeding and contributes to the health of the species.


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Araceae
Alismatales
Alismatales
Monocots
Monocots
One First-Leaves (Monocots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

A preparation of the root was reported to have been used by Native Americans as a treatment for sore eyes. Preparations were also made to treat rheumatism, bronchitis, and snakebites, as well as to induce sterility.
Medicinal Uses: Despite its possible irritating effects there are several accounts of Native Americans using a preparation of the root on sore eyes. It was also used for cold symptoms and as a tonic. Externally it has been used for various skin infections and against pain and swelling. It was used to treat rheumatism and bronchitis but also to induce sterility. Externally it was used as a treatment for snakebite.
Hoarseness and aphonia, with burning and constriction of the throat, and thin, ichorous, nasal discharge; intensely sore throat, with bleeding and fetor; a feeling of fullness or swelling of the mouth, throat, and tongue, the latter being red and sensitive.
Acrid, expectorant, and diaphoretic. Recommended in flatulence, croup, whooping-cough, stomatitis, asthma, chronic laryngitis, bronchitis, pains in the chest, colic, low stage of typhus, and various affections connected with a cachectic state of the system. Externally it has been used in scrofulous tumors, tinea capitis, and other cutaneous diseases. Its action in the prostration of low fevers with wild delirium is due to its effects upon the cerebral centers. It is reputed useful in cerebro-spinal fever and scarlatina, when delirium is present, when the tongue is swollen, red, and painful, and the buccal membranes inflamed. Chronic laryngitis, or minister's sore throat, with sudden hoarseness and aphonia, is specifically influenced by arum. It is also useful in ulceration of the larynx and pharynx. It is a good remedy, internally and locally, for aggravated red sore throat. The powdered root may be given in 10-grain doses, increased, if required, to 20 or 30 grains, and repeated every 3 or 4 hours. It may be taken in sweetened mucilage, syrup, or honey. Specific arum, 1 10 to 10 drops. Its specific effects are best obtained by minute doses of the specific arumó1 10 to 1 2 drop doses.
The root is acrid, antiseptic, diaphoretic, expectorant, irritant and stimulant. The fresh root is considered to be too dangerous and intensely acrid to use, whilst the dried roots become inactive, so fresh, partially dried roots are used. Due to the potentially toxic nature of this plant, it should only be used internally under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
The root was applied as a poultice on headaches, scrofulous sores, rheumatism, boils, abscesses and ringworm. A decoction of the root has been used as a wash for sore eyes.
The root was used as a contraceptive by the N. American Indians. One teaspoonful of the dried powdered root in cold water was said to prevent conception for a week whilst two teaspoonfuls in hot water was said to induce permanent sterility
Food Uses: Although one of this plants nickname is Indian turnip, it can only be used for food after boiling and thoroughly drying. Even then, its pungent flavor might make you reconsider. It was generally ground into meal before use. The fresh or partially dried root is too dangerous for use without medical supervision.
Tuber - it must be thoroughly dried or cooked before being eaten. The roots can be cut into very thin slices and allowed to dry for several months, after which they are eaten like potato chips, crumbled to make a cereal or ground into a cocoa-flavored powder for making biscuits, cakes etc. They can also be pounded into a powder, this is then left to dry for several weeks when it becomes safe to use. The root is up to 5cm long and 2cm wide
Other Uses: A starch obtained from the roots is used as a stiffener for clothes. It is very harsh to the hands, causing blisters and swellings.
The seeds have been used in rattles
In Legend: One account from the Meskwaki Indians states that they would chop the herb's corm and mix it with meat and leave the meat out for their enemies to find. The taste of the oxalate would not be detectable because of the flavored meat, but consuming the meat reportedly caused their enemies pain and death. They also used it to determine the fate of the sick by dropping a seed in a cup of stirred water; If the seed went around four times clockwise, the patient would recover, if it went around less than four times they would not
Warning: Due to Calcium oxylate crystals in all parts of this plant it is poisonous, but not deadly. The symptoms of toxicity are: Results in a powerful burning sensation. It can cause irritation of the mouth and digestive system, and on rare occasions the swelling of the mouth and throat may be severe enough to affect breathing.
Toxicity is Easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water.



Jack-in-the-Pulpit




Jack-in-the-Pulpit




Jack-in-the-Pulpit




Jack-in-the-Pulpit


Comment: Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum

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