I can’t get over how beautiful these flowers are, and am so happy and proud to have them in my garden. Their eerie hooded flowers, decorated with elegant stripes that make them look like custom wrapping paper are, indeed, the packaging, called the spathe. The inflorescence, which contains male and/or female flowers, is the spadix inside it.

Jack in the Pulpit is an example of the surprisingly many living things on Earth that can change their gender at will, depending on their current circumstances. You wouldn’t even be able to tell whether their flowers are male or female if it weren’t for the number of leaf stems at the bottom of their inflorescence: if you see only one leaf stem, you are looking at a male plant, which means the weather wasn’t particularly favorable to the plant that year and you will not see fruit on the plant later in the summer.

The fruit itself is beautiful, a cluster of tiny red berries brightening up the dark floor of the forest, almost glowing in the shade. Folk stories say that the size and configuration of the fruit will predict the harvest that year, a quite detailed account by crop and quantity. It kind of makes intuitive sense, if you think about it, considering the fact that the plant will only produce fruit if the conditions are favorable for all things green and leafy.

I haven’t seen fruit on mine yet, but it bloomed two years in a row and I’m a proud mommy.

Don’t fret over the fact that the plant wilts and perishes after blooming, it’s supposed to go dormant in the summer and fall. It will come back the following year, and, if you are lucky, sprout two leaves.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight" ; "A Year and A Day"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.