Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jack-in-the-pulpit seedlings

Abundant Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) seedlings have popped up along the streamside path at the botanical garden, much to my delight.  There are a few young plants with flowers, but most are still vegetative.

Arisaema triphyllum seedlings
This is an undistinguished photo, to be sure, but the light was dim in the forest understory.

Young plants are vegetative, then produce male flowers as they accumulate stored resources, and produce female flowers (and fruits) when they've become relatively large plants.   After producing fruits, plants become smaller, and revert back to being vegetative or producing male flowers, until their resources are built up again.

My gardening companion's species profile for Jack-in-the-Pulpit (in his recently-published book) describes the flexibility in gender expression that benefits the plant  -- it matches resources available to the energy demands required of male flowers, or female flowers, and for fruit production. 

How cool is that?

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