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

Butterfly Plants for Chicago
September 13, 2014 - I live near Chicago, IL and am interested in planting a butterfly garden. Not sure when to start, but I want all native plants that would attract butterflies. Can you please let me know which plants ...
view the full question and answer

Introduction of possibly invasive Texas wildflowers to Afghanistan
November 03, 2006 - I'm in Afghanistan right now, and at the USO over here there's a small garden where some service members have seeds sent from home to plant. I don't see any Bluebonnets so I asked my grandparents t...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping for a wedding in Memphis MO
October 13, 2009 - I am pretty new at this landscaping flower thing, but I love it. We just moved out to the country in NE Missouri from Colorado (Huge difference, but love it). We have decided to have our wedding at o...
view the full question and answer

Planting for steep slope in Alabama
July 30, 2008 - I am looking for a plant for a steep slope down to a creek in our backyard in Birmingham Alabama It will get some morning sun but will be in the shade in the afternoon. I was thinking of wildflowers...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seeds coming up early
October 05, 2008 - I purchased several wildflower seeds packages. Everything I read about when to plant, suggest planting in September or October in my area. This is what I did. I planted only about 2 weeks ago. Som...
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center