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Jack-In-The-Pulpit (Indian Turnip) (Arisaema triphyllum, or A. Stewardsonii)

We saw it in great profusion along the Meander River handy Smileys Provincial Park (West Hants), just across the road up from the bridge along the small flood plain. The jack-in-the-pulpit is of the arum family. There are three trillium-like leaves; just beneath, the flower grows. It consists of a curving ridged and striped hood (the spathe), the "pulpit." This ridged hood is green or purplished-brown and envelopes an erect club (spadix), this, of course, is "Jack." In the late summer or fall "Jack" turns into a cluster of shiny red berries. As indicated, jack-in-the-pulpit, prefers damp alluvial soils. Jack-in-the-pulpit is rarely found along the Atlantic coast.
The aboriginals would like to gather the roots (corms) for food. They can be bitter if eaten raw (calcium ozate crystals); but cooked, they are represented to be OK. (Audubon.) (By way of editorial comment: certainly, these days, one cannot recommend the gathering up of these delicate and relatively rare plants for the purposes of food; one should, as a general rule, just look at and take pictures of wild flowers; for food, go to the grocery store; for flowers go to the floral stores; and for medicine, go to your doctor.)

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Peter Landry

2011