A perennial herb, I to 3 feet tall, from a rounded, acrid conn. Leaves one or two, nearly erect, and exceeding the scape, three-foliate, the segments or leaflets pale green beneath, ovate, acute, rounded or pointed at the base, 3 to 8 inches long, 1 to 3 inches wide, unfolding with the flowers. Flowers dioecious, borne on the basal part of the club-shaped spadix, which is naked, blunt and green or purple above; spathe green and purple-striped, curving in a broad flap over the top of the spadix, long pointed, sometimes whitish with green stripes or almost uniformly greenish. The crowded ovaries of the pistillate flowers ripen into a cluster of bright-red, shining, globose berries.
A common plant of moist woods and thickets, flowering from early spring until June. The fruit ripens in July, and in late summer the leaves frequently wither and die, leaving the stalks of bright-red berries conspicuous objects in the woods.
Two closely related species are sometimes recognized, Arisaema pusillum (Peck) Nash, with leaves green beneath, a cylindrical spadix and spathe deep brown to almost black in color; Arisaema steward sonii Britton, with a conspicuously fluted spathe which is whitish below and green or green-striped toward the tip, but otherwise resembling A. pusi1um.
The Green "Dragon or Dragon-root (Arisaema dracontium (Linnaeus) Schott) (figure II) has solitary leaves divided into five to seventeen segments, and a narrow greenish or whitish, long-pointed spathe enwrapping the spadix, the upper part of which tapers into a slender appendage exserted 1 to 7 inches beyond the spathe. The mature berries are reddish-orange in color. This plant is less abundant than the Jack-in-the-pulpit, and much less conspicuous.
Figure II Green Dragon or Dragon-root (Arisaema dracontium (Linnaeus) Schott)
Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum
Plate 3 jack-in-the-pulpit; Indian turnip Arisaema triphyllum