Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jack In the Pulpit

Jack in the pulpit is the name of a plant, have the latin name Arisaema triphyllum, the family of Araceae, is a plant species most commonly referred to as jack in the pulpit. This herbaceous perennial grows in damp or shady places. The inflorescence is a densely flowered spadix surrounded by a large bract known as the spathe. In the fall red berries are borne in a dense, egg shaped cluster.

The plant are monoecious; each season, however, flowers of just one sex are produced. For about two years staminate flowers are formed, in subsequent seasons pistillate flowers are produced.

Calcium oxalate crystals accumulate in the rhizome and, if taken into the mouth by a human, will cause irritation and a burning sensation. Pawnee Indians pulverized and dried the roots and dusted the powder on their temples to relieve headaches. The roots are also a source of flour, but they must be processed first in order to dispel the "acid principle."

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