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Arisaema triphyllum

(Devils Nip)


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Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in English:

Devils Nip, Indian Jack in the Pulpit, Indian Turnip, Indian-Turnip, Jack in the Pulpit, Jack in the Pulpit, Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Swamp Jack-In-The-Pulpit

Common Names in French:

Petit Prêcheur


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Family Araceae

Herbs, perennial , wetland or terrestrial , occasionally emergent or floating, [often epiphytic or climbing ], usually with milky or watery latex, rarely colored . Rhizomes, corms, or stolons present; rhizomes vertical or horizontal, creeping at or near surface , sometimes branched; corms underground, starchy; stolons at or near surface. Stems absent [sometimes aboveground or aerial ]. Cataphylls usually present. Leaves rarely solitary, alternate or clustered; petiole rarely absent, with sheathing base ; blade simple or compound [occasionally perforate ], elliptic to obovate or spatulate , occasionally sagittate-cordate, larger than 1.5 cm; venation parallel or pinnate- or palmate-netted. Inflorescences spadices, each with 3--900 usually tightly grouped, sessile flowers, subtended by spathe ; spathe rarely absent, persistent (sometimes only proximally) or deciduous, variously colored; spadix cylindric or ovoid , various parts occasionally naked or with sterile flowers. Flowers bisexual or unisexual , staminate and pistillate usually on same plants or functionally on different plants, staminate flowers distal to pistillate when unisexual; perianth absent or present; stamens 2--12, distinct or connate in synandria; ovaryies 1, 1--3(--many) -locular, sessile or embedded in spadix; styles 1; stigmas hemispheric , capitate, or discoid [sometimes strongly lobed ]. Fruits berries , distinct or connate at maturity. Seeds 1--40(--many) per berry.

Genera 105, species more than 3300 (8 genera, 10 species in the flora ; species in 10 additional genera may persist locally within flora area, see talbe 203.1) : nearly worldwide, primarily tropical regions .

Araceae are best characterized by the inflorescence, a fleshy cylindric or ovoid, unbranched spadix subtended or surrounded by a spathe. True spathes are absent in the Nearctic genus Orontium and in the Australian genus Gymnostachys. Other plant families with a compressed spadix-like inflorescence, such as Piperaceae and Cyclanthaceae, either do not have a structure equivalent to a spathe (Piperaceae) or have early-deciduous bracts (Cyclanthaceae) . Plants are usually glabrous , rarely pubescent or spiny (pubescent in Pistia) . Many Araceae exhibit typical monocotyledonous parallel leaf venation, but some genera have net leaf venation more typical of dicotyledons.

Infrafamilial classification of the Araceae is under active study. The only classification of the family to date to utilize modern phylogenetic techniques (S. J. Mayo et al. 1997) recognizes seven subfamilies, of which three are represented in native temperate North American aroid flora: Orontioideae (Orontium, Symplocarpus, Lysichiton) ; Calloideae (Calla) ; and Aroideae (Peltandra, Arisaema, and Pistia) . Acorus, a genus historically included in Araceae, is treated as a separate family in theat flora based on extensive morphologic and chemical evidence that supports its removal from Arales (M. H. Grayum 1987) .

The number of genera of Araceae occurring in temperate North America is low in comparison with other continents, and primitive taxa are disproportionately represented. Orontioideae and Calloideae, which include four of the seven native genera found in the flora area, are the basal clades within Araceae. Plants in these subfamilies possess the primitive states for many characteristics in Araceae and share few derived characteristics with other aroid genera (M. H. Grayum 1990) . The more advanced genera native to the flora area include one genus endemic to eastern North America (Peltandra), a pantropical genus with an uncertain native distribution (Pistia), and a genus clearly Eurasian in origin (Arisaema) .

Araceae contain crystals of calcium oxalate , which are often cited as causing the intense irritation experienced when handling or consuming the raw plant tissue of many genera in the family. This supposition is contradicted by the fact that although irritation generally is not produced by properly cooked plants, the crystals remain after heating. Other compounds must therefore be involved with causing this reaction. Studies of Dieffenbachia demonstrated that a proteolytic enzyme , as well as other compounds, are responsible for the severe irritation caused by this plant and that raphides of calcium oxalate do not play a major role (J. Arditti and E. Rodriguez 1982) . Whether irritation is caused by enzymes or crystals, that aspect of Araceae has resulted in aroid genera being included in many lists of poisonous plants (e.g. , K . F. Lampe and M. A. McCann 1985; G. A. Mulligan and D. B . Munro 1990; K. D. Perkins and W. W. Payne 1978) .

Despite the toxic effects of Araceae, species of several genera are cultivated as food plants, mainly as subsistence crops in tropical areas. The major edible Araceae are Colocasia esculenta and several species of Xanthosoma, grown primarily for their corms and sometimes for their leaves. Most North American species of Araceae were historically used by Native Americans, as both food and medicine (T. Plowman 1969) . The family, is currently more valued for its many ornamental species , and is the most important family in North America for indoor foliage plants (T. B. Croat 1994) . Araceae commonly grown as ornamentals in American homes include species of Aglaonema (Chinese-evergreen), Anthurium, Caladium, Dieffenbachia (dumbcane), Epipremnum (golden pothos), Philodendron, Spathiphyllum, Syngonium, and Zantedeschia (calla-lily) .

Plants of some cultivated species of Araceae escape and may persist or naturalize , especially in warmer climates. One of these species, Colocasia esculenta, is widespread enough to warrant full inclusion in the flora, but other introduced species of Araceae are very local in occurrence. Uncommon species represented by herbarium specimens or literature reports as escaped or persisting from cultivation are listed (table 203.1) with distinguishing characteristics and areas of occurrence.[1]

Genus Arisaema

Herbs, terrestrial or wetland. Corms [rhizomes] nearly globose . Leaves usually appearing with flowers, 1--2(--3), erect ; petiole longer than blade ; blade medium to dark green, sometimes glaucous adaxially, palmately or pedately [radiately] divided , not peltate, leaflet elliptic to broadly ovate or oblanceolate , base rounded to obtuse or attenuate, apex obtuse or acute to acuminate; primary lateral veins of each leaflet pinnate. Inflorescences: peduncle erect, nearly equal to leaves [to very short], apex not swollen; spathe variously colored or striped, distal part open at maturity, exposing tip to 1/2 or more of spadix appendage ; spadix ± cylindric , surmounted by sterile appendage of variable shape . Flowers unisexual , staminate and pistillate on same or different spadix; pistillate flowers congested ; staminate flowers usually scattered , distal to pistillate flowers when both are present; perianth absent. Fruits not embedded in spadix, glossy orange to bright red. Seeds 1--6, mucilage sometimes present (not present in Arisaema triphyllum). x = 13, 14.

Species ca. 170: mostly temperate Asia, also North America, Mexico, and Africa.

The phenomenon of sex changing in Arisaema has been investigated by many authors (e.g. , P. Bierzychudek 1982; K . Clay 1993; E. Kinoshita 1986). Smaller plants produce only staminate flowers, and larger plants produce either staminate and pistillate flowers simultaneously or pistillate flowers only. Changes in gender expression are directly correlated with size and are also influenced by the environment in which the plants are growing. Reversions in phenotypic gender have been experimentally induced by such factors as removing leaf area or changing soil nutrient levels.

Although some species are cultivated as ornamentals , the genus is not of great economic importance.[2]

Physical Description

Species Arisaema triphyllum

Although these morphological forms may be recognizable in the field , distinguishing these differences in herbarium specimens is often difficult, and there is much overlap occurs in expression of the characteristics supposedly defining infraspecific taxa. Numerous intermediate forms exist, including putative hybrid populations be tween the subspecies with 2n = 42 (D. G. Huttleston 1949, 1953). Given these problems and the sympatric ranges of the "subspecies" recognized by previous workers, A. triphyllum is treated here as one highly variable species. [source]

In addition to the above variability within the Arisaema triphyllum complex , putative hybrid populations between A. triphyllum and A. dracontium also occur naturally (L. L. Sanders and C. J. Burk 1992). These plants do not produce mature fruits but do reproduce vegetatively. [source]

Habit: Forb/herbGrowth Form: RhizomatousShape and Orientation: Erect

Flowers: Bloom Period: April, May. • Flower Color: black, dark purple, green, maroon, pale green • Flower Conspicuous: Yes

Seeds: Seed per Pound: 110000 • Seed Spread Rate: Slow • Seedling Vigor: Low • Fruit/Seed Abundance: Low • Fruit/Seed Color: Red • Fruit/Seed Conspicuous: Yes • Cold Stratification Required: No

Foliage: Foliage Color: Green • Foliage Porosity Summer: Dense • Foliage Porosity Winter: Dense • Foliage Texture: CoarseFall Conspicuous: Yes • Leaf Retention: No


Active Growth Period: Spring and Summer • Growth Rate: Moderate • After Harvest Regrowth Rate: None • Mature Height (feet): 1.5 • Size: 12-18" tall. • Vegetative Spread Rate: Slow • Lifespan: Lifespan


Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 1,092 meters (0 to 3,583 feet).[3]


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Duration: PerennialCoppice Potential: No • Progagated by Bulbs: No • Propagated by Bare Root: Yes • Propagated by Container: Yes • Propagated by Corms: Yes • Propagated by Cuttings: No • Propagated by Seed: Yes • Propagated by Sod: No • Propagated by Sprigs: No • Propagated by Tubers: No • Fruit/Seed Period Begin: Summer • Fruit/Seed Period End: Summer • Fruit/Seed Persistence: Yes


Culture: Space 9-12" apart.

Soil: Adapted to Medium Textured: Adapted to Medium Textured Soils • Adapted to Coarse Textured Soils: Yes • Anaerobic Tolerance: Medium • Salinity Tolerance: None • CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium • Minimum pH: 6.1 • Maximum pH: 7.8 • Fertility Requirement: High

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Light Shade. • Shade Tolerance: Tolerant

Moisture: Drought Tolerance: Low • Minimum Precipitation: 34 • Maximum Precipitation: 50 • Moisture Use: High

Temperature: Minimum Temperature (F): -18 • Minimum Frost Free Days: 175 • Cold Hardiness: 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b. (map)


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A. atrorubens (Aiton) Blume • A. polymorphum (Buckley) Chapman • A. pusillum (Peck) Nash • A. quinatum (Nuttall) Schott • A. stewardsonii Britton • A. triphyllum pusillum (Peck) Huttleston • A. triphyllum quinatum (Nuttall) Huttleston • A. triphyllum stewardsonii (Britton) Huttleston • A. triphyllum var. pusillum Peck • A. triphyllum var. stewardsonii (Britton) Stevens Ex Wiegand and Eames • Alocasia atrorubens (Aiton) Raf. • Alocasia lobata Raf. • Alocasia triphylla (L.) Raf. • Arisaema acuminatum Small • Arisaema atrorubens (Aiton) Blume • Arisaema atrorubens f. pallascens (Sims) Raymond • Arisaema atrorubens f. pusillum (Peck) Fernald • Arisaema atrorubens f. viride (Engl.) Fernald • Arisaema atrorubens f. zebrinum (Sims) Fernald • Arisaema atrorubens var. viride Engl. • Arisaema atrorubens var. zebrinum (Sims) Raymond • Arisaema brasilianum Blume • Arisaema deflexum Nieuwl. and K. Just • Arisaema hastatum Blume • Arisaema polymorphum (Buckley) Chapm. • Arisaema pusillum f. pallidum Eames • Arisaema pusillum Nash • Arisaema quinatum (Nutt.) Schott • Arisaema quinatum var. obtusoquinatum Alph. Wood • Arisaema stewardsonii Britton • Arisaema triphyllum bispadiceum Engl. • Arisaema triphyllum bispathaceum Engl. • Arisaema triphyllum f. pusillum (Peck) Fernald • Arisaema triphyllum f. stewardsonii (Britton) Engl. • Arisaema triphyllum f. viride (Engl.) Farw. • Arisaema triphyllum f. zebrinum (Sims) F. Seym. • Arisaema triphyllum pusillum (Peck) Huttl. • Arisaema triphyllum quinatum (Nutt.) Nutt. • Arisaema triphyllum stewardsonii (Britton) Huttl. • Arisaema triphyllum trispadiceum Engl. • Arisaema triphyllum var. acuminatum (Small) Engl. • Arisaema triphyllum var. montanum Fernald • Arisaema triphyllum var. pusillum Peck • Arisaema triphyllum var. stewardsonii (Britton) Stevens • Arisaema triphyllum var. typicum Engl. • Arisaema triphyllum var. viride (Engl.) Engl. • Arisaema zebrinum G. Nicholson • Arum atrorubens Aiton • Arum polymorphum Buckley • Arum quinatum Nutt. • Arum triphyllum L. • Arum triphyllum var. atropurpureum Michx. • Arum triphyllum var. atrorubens (Aiton) Dewey Ex Alph. Wood • Arum triphyllum var. pallescens Sims • Arum triphyllum var. virens Michx. • Arum triphyllum var. viride Sims • Arum triphyllum var. zebrinum Sims • Arum vittatum Salisb.


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 11-Nov-2003

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Arisaema

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 56 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

A. amurense (Asian Green Dragon) · A. amurense 'Green Form' (Asian Green Dragon) · A. asperatum (Jack In The Pulpit) · A. auriculatum (Cobra Lily) · A. bathycoleum (Jack in the Pulpit) · A. brevipes (Jack in the Pulpit) · A. candidissimum (Chinese Jack-In-The-Pulpit) · A. candidissimum 'White Flower Form' (Chinese Jack-In-The-Pulpit) · A. ciliatum (Arisaema) · A. clavatum (Jack In The Pulpit) · A. concinnum 'Yellow Spathe Form' (Chinese Cobra Lily) · A. consanguineum (Jack in the Pulpit) · A. costatum (Cobra Lily) · A. dahaiense (Cobra Lily) · A. dilatatum (Jack In The Pulpit) · A. dracontium (Green Dragon) · A. elephas (Cobra Lily) · A. erubescens (Arisaema) · A. fargesii (Arisaema) · A. flavum (Arisaema Flavum) · A. franchetianum (Chinese Cobra Lily) · A. griffithii (Griffiths Cobra Lily) · A. heterophyllum (Arisaema) · A. inkiangense (Jack In The Pulpit) · A. inkiangense var. maculatum (Jack In The Pulpit) · A. iyoanum (Jack in the Pulpit) · A. japonicum (Japanese Arisaema) · A. jinshajiangense (Arisaema) · A. kelung-insularis (Jack In The Pulpit) · A. lichiangense (Cobra Lily) · A. lingyunense (Arisaema) · A. lobatum (Arisaema) · A. nepenthoides (Cobra Lily) · A. peninsulae (Jack in the Pulpit) · A. prazeri (Jack in the Pulpit) · A. propinquum (Jack in the Pulpit) · A. rhizomatum (Cobra Lily) · A. ringens (Cobra Lily) · A. saxatile (Arisaema) · A. serratum var. mayebarae (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) · A. shihmienense (Jack In The Pulpit) · A. sikokianum (Cobra Lily) · A. speciosum (Cobra Lily) · A. taiwanense (Taiwan Cobra Lily) · A. thunbergii urashima (Urashima-So) · A. tortuosum (Arisaema) · A. triphyllum (Devils Nip) · A. triphyllum pusillum (Indian Jack in the Pulpit) · A. triphyllum quinatum (Indian Jack in the Pulpit) · A. triphyllum stewardsonii (Indian Jack in the Pulpit) · A. triphyllum triphyllum (Indian Jack in the Pulpit) · A. wardii (Arisaema) · A. wilsonii (Jack in the Pulpit) · A. yamatense (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) · A. yamatense sugimotoi (Jack-In-The-Pulpit) · A. yunnanense (Cobra Lily)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal March 04, 2008:



  1. Sue A. Thompson "Araceae". in Flora of North America Vol. 22. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  2. "Arisaema". in Flora of North America Vol. 22. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  3. Mean = 242.950 meters (797.080 feet), Standard Deviation = 173.670 based on 1,549 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-04-14