What plant produces this seed pod?

Asked September 17, 2013, 6:40 PM EDT

I found this seed pod growing along the edge of the road and wondered if you could identify it for me.

New Castle County Delaware wildflowers and native plants jack in the pulpit arisaema triphyllum horticulture

1 Response

This appears to be a Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) berry cluster. The spadix or "Jack" produces tiny flowers in the spring that are pollinated by flies. Pollinated flowers produce green berries that turn bright red in late summer and fall. Seeds within the berries that fall to the ground will germinate the following spring producing one small leaf. Jack-in-the-pulpits need three or more years to mature before they flower. The plants and fruits contain calcium oxalate that may irritate your skin so it is best to wear gloves when handling them. I have attached two images of the plant.