If so, any guess which? This is in my woods in the North Carolina mountains, late September. None other around that I see. I just spent quite a while removing invasives (the usual aggressive ones).enter image description here

  • I would have identified it as Jack in the pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum, except it lacks the distinctive spathe
    – kevinskio
    Sep 28, 2020 at 19:59
  • If it was in Europe I would have guessed Arum maculatum but that doesn't seem to be native to the USA. The spathe may have disappeared before the berries became ripe and noticeable.
    – alephzero
    Sep 28, 2020 at 21:33
  • If it is either of the above, note that ALL parts of the plant are poisonous and irritate skin.
    – alephzero
    Sep 28, 2020 at 21:37
  • 1
    Because of the three-part leaf and upright seed stalk, I'd go with an Arisaema (the spathe would've been gone a month ago or so). Usually, though, A. triphyllum usually has a much fuller seed head. Since no arum is native to NC, I'd go with A. triphyllum. @kevinsky, you should convert your comment into an answer.
    – Jurp
    Sep 29, 2020 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


I looked at the pictures and think this is Jack in the pulpit or Arisaema Triphyllum.

The identification keys are that:

  • native to eastern North America from Nova Scotia to Florida and including USDA zone 4 where I live
  • close relative, Arisaema dracontium, has quite a different leaf shape but overlaps the range
  • cluster of bright red berries in the fall
  • the spadix and spathe that flower are only seen from May to June (Thanks Jurp!)
  • leaves appear to be trifoliate

As alephzero has pointed out the plant is toxic if ingested due to the calcium oxalate (which is also found in tea leaves and kiwi fruit). You would probably have to eat the whole plant underlining that the dose makes the poison.

I have one in my garden and find that even if you try and spread the berries it takes many years before you see a mature plant. It does not spread aggressively and seems quite happy in dry shade.

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