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Feb 2006 JACK IN PULPIT
N. Walker

Jack-in-the Pulpits are widespread in the eastern U.S. They grow in woods and swamps and bloom in March and April. Unlike most other plants which grow their parts sequentially after emergence, Jack in the Pulpit's develop their stems, leaves, and flowering parts (when present) underground and then emerge and unfold in a completed state. The leaf stems have a large three part dark green elliptic leaf with smooth margins. The stems are smooth and pale green. Plants that are several years old may also have a flowering stem that is not as tall as the leaves. The very unusual inflorescence consists of a tubular "spathe" with a hood that surrounds and almost encloses the flower bearing "spadix". The Spathe has vertical light green stripes. The spadix is an elongated rod shaped appendage that may be male "staminate" or female "pistillate". The actual flowers are at the base of the spadix and are tiny and inconspicuous. The arrangement of the flower parts provides the basis for the common name. The spadix (jack) appears to be standing in the spathe (pulpit).