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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.

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

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Sunday - September 13, 2009

From: Lakewood, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Precautions to take with Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are there precautions to take, such as wearing gloves while separating the seeds from the Jack In The Pulpit berries. The photos I have seen have gloved hands. I've read that the plant is toxic if ingested.

ANSWER:

According to the Poisonous Plants of North Carolina all parts of Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit) can cause severe pain and blisters if put in the mouth when raw.  However, the roots can be collected, dried, roasted and ground and added to bread and muffin batters and safely eaten.  According to the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System oxalates, the chemicals responsible for the burning and blisters, does not cause systemic poisoning since they are insoluble.  Even though you would probably be just fine if you can remember not to put your hands in your mouth, eyes or nose before you wash them thoroughly, it would probably be a good idea to wear rubber gloves while handling the seeds or other parts of the plant.

 


Arisaema triphyllum

Arisaema triphyllum

 

 

 

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