A unique woodland ephemeral with a hooded flower growing on a leafless stalk, shaded by three large leaves on stems separate from the flower stem. Tiny flowers are found on the spike (“Jack”) that arises from the green- and maroon-striped leafy spathe (“the pulpit”). Pollinated flowers produce bright red berry clusters in the fall. Goes dormant in summer. Pollinated by small flies and attracts birds.
Fun fact: A. triphyllum undergoes a cycle of growth and development where not only the age of the plant determines its sex, but also the conditions of its environment. Plants begin their adulthood as males. If conditions are favorable and enough energy can be stored during the growing season, the following year the same plant will emerge as a female, with two sets of leaves to capture more sunlight and produce more energy. (Being female and producing seeds is hard work and requires a lot of energy.) Male plants in a stressed environment will remain male the next year. Females under stress will revert to male and conserve energy. This cycle is called sequential hermaphroditism. Super cool, right?
Needs constantly moist soil rich in organic matter. Cover with leaf mulch in fall.
Height: 1-2 ft.
Spread: 1-1.5 ft.
Bloom time: April to May
Sun: part shade to full shade
Water: medium to wet
According to Rutgers University, Arisaema are “rarely damaged” by deer.
photo credit: Jay Sturner USA