Back in April we were fortunate to visit and rescue plants on the property of a very good friend. We returned to an area that was near a beautiful mountain stream. We could not believe our eyes, there were Jack-In-the-Pulpits everywhere and far too many to count. On previous plants rescues we would see only a few clustered together along a stream. In Georgia people refer to streams as mountain creeks. So along that creek bank was the perfect environment for Jacks with it being heavily shaded, great soil, and plenty of moisture. We were as excited as kids in a candy store but at the same time we wanted to protect this special place. We were careful to dig in such a way that we did not injury any nearby plants and we only took a few.
Early settlers in the area had many other names for this plant-Indian Turnip, Indian Onion, Wild Pepper, and American Arum. The Cherokee had many uses for Arisaema triphyllum. They would use it for headaches, skin ailments, open sores, snake bites, musle pain and aching joints. They also used it to treat boils and ringworms. A tea was made from the Jack-in-the-pulpit to use as a stimulant, an expectorant and to stop colds and coughs.
This plant is poisonous and was only used after it was boiled and dried completely for several months. The red berries were boiled and then used to dye clothing.
This plant is a perennial that grows one to two feet tall. It normally blooms during April and May. Whenever you are in a woodland area keep you eyes open because it blends with the surrounding foliage and the bloom is under the large three lobe leaf (triphyllum)
It grows best in fertile, medium to wet soils. It needs constant moisture and a soil that is rich in organic matter. It can be grown from seeds but can take up to five years for the plant to flower. Our property has lots of “dry shade” so we have to do supplemental watering to keep it looking good.