En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 06, 2008

From: West Seneca, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema sp.) blooms
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

My jack in the pulpit bloomed last year with the back of the spathe showing and the spadix facing away, similar to a child standing in a corner. I read on a site why this happens but now I can't find the site I was on.

ANSWER:

Thank you for clarification of your first question but Mr. Smarty Plants is still a little confused. As far as I can remember (it's been a couple of years since I saw Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit) in person—they don't grow in Central Texas), the spadix is symmetrical. It isn't possible to determine a front or back to it so it is a bit difficult to visualize it "facing away" from the spathe. Is it possible your jack-in-the-pulpit had a spathe that remained erect like the one on the right in the first picture or like those in the second and third pictures? Is this what you mean by being able to see the back of the spathe? There are a couple of possibilities that come to mind that could cause the spathe not to fold over: 1) a physical injury such as being stepped on by an animal (person, deer, rabbit?) that damaged the emerging spathe, or 2) insect damage to the spathe as it unfolded, or 3) a genetic mutation (remote chance). Discussions with several knowledgeable people didn't yield any other possibilities for what you were describing or its cause. If we've still missed it, we would be happy to try again if you could provide us with a picture. Again, see the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page for instructions (lower right corner under "Plant Identification") on how to submit photos.

We did learn a lot of interesting things about Jack-in-the-pulpit, however, such as there are male flowers and female flowers. The female flowers have two leaf stalks with them while the males have only one leaf stalk. They can switch sexes, but are either male or female, never both at the same time.

 


Arisaema triphyllum

Arisaema triphyllum

Arisaema triphyllum
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Restoration of hilly area with natives of New York
April 24, 2006 - I have an area, down the street from me, 2 side hills. During the summer, this all becomes over grown with small trees and just brush in general. I have asked our city for over 20 yrs to clear it as j...
view the full question and answer

Planting Clover in Falcon, CO
January 21, 2010 - What is the best clover to plant here on the front range? It must be durable, able to survive harsh climate and changing conditions and thrive on little rain.
view the full question and answer

Color year round, welcome to Austin Texas.
December 04, 2011 - I am new to Austin and want to plant colorful flowers for fall and winter that get a "wow" reaction. I have not seen much at the local nurseries. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!
view the full question and answer

Number of wild flowers in Durham NC compared to all of North Carolina
April 24, 2009 - How many wild flowers have been identified in the North Carolina Area compared to just in Durham. I would like to photograph them all and want to know how close I can get to capturing photos of all th...
view the full question and answer

Is there a variety of bluebonnet called black gumbo
February 04, 2008 - I live in Grimes County, Texas on the eastern edge of the Blackland Prairie. A few years ago my hillside of Bluebonnet seed was harvested. I was told it was a rare 'black gumbo' variety of bluebon...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center