Don’t Know Jack?

Someone hath browsed off the overhanging spathes and tips of the spadicies of these Jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum). This gives us a good view of the pin-striped goodness within these curious flowers.Otherwise you have to get personal.This is a flower that hides itself.Who is this Jack, you might well ask, and what is he doing in the pulpit? To say the spadix “looks like a man,” as does Better Homes & Gardens, seems quite the euphemism. The part is not the whole. According to this site, the plant is pollinated by fungus gnats and thrips. Also of note on that page: the ill-tasting plant scares off herbivores, so who did the work seen up top? Two legged? Deer not yet in the know?

5 Responses to “Don’t Know Jack?”


  1. 1 elwnyc May 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Ah, but in this case, it DOES represent the man, since it’s supposed to be a clergyman (?) in the pulpit. Though I never knew why he was called Jack.

  2. 4 Beverly Seaton May 8, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Hmm. I have Jacks all over my woods and now in my front porch garden. Which means I must have fungus gnats and thrips? What are they, exactly?

    • 5 mthew May 8, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Tiny insects. The gnats are members of the Diptera (flies); and thrips are in the order Thysanoptera — most under a millimeter in length. I don’t recall ever running into a thrip, but there out there somewhere.


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