Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In rostrum Jack.

Two spikes poke up through the moss, among the lilac suckers and creeping buttercups. A lot of weeding remains be done.

Aha. It begins to unfurl, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. A three-winged butterfly.

Starting to look familiar, like a forest plant from my Ontarioan childhood.

There's the flower, spathe and spadix, lurking behind the stem.

Yes, it's an Arisaema, a Jack in the pulpit, but huh? Something's different.

The spathe, the "pulpit" is a little excessive, drooping over and curling under itself. This is not Arisaema triphyllum, the North American plant.

This is an east Asian form, which I bought several years ago at a plant show at a nature centre. I 've not identified it to species. Wikipedia lists more than 30 nominal Arisaema species, including African and Asian forms.

Since, strictly speaking, this is not a Jack in the pulpit, what to call it? I typed Jack in the pulpit into Babelfish, then translated it into Asian languages, as if the common name of this plant in those languages would be a literal translation of what it is in English. I ended up with strings of characters I'm not able to read. Not daunted, I translated those characters back into English (you can waste a lot of time at work with Babelfish).

English/Japanese/English gives: Jack of explanation/learning platform.

English/Korean/English provided: The Jack which is the unit of the box shape.

My favourite for its succinctness, English/Chinese/English gives: In rostrum Jack.


Anonymous said...

Could your mystery pulpit plant be Arisaema costatum? "Costatum" means "with prominant ribs" or perhaps just simply "ribbed." If you google this name you will find some pictures of this plant on which is the web site of a nursery in Chilliwack. They seem to have an amazing number of arisaema species.


Mungo said...

Very nice! I came across some Jack in the Pulpit this past weekend... Amazing looking plants, huh?



Hugh said...

Don, thanks for directing me there. The shape of the flower is closer to Arisaema galeatum (helmet-shaped), but I'm not certain that's what it is.

chey said...

Great post. I really enjoyed the progression of the leaves unfurling. Interesting plant.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...


Wicked Gardener said...

Very interesting post with the plant's progression. I'll have to try babblefish with some of my plant names.

Laura said...

Very nice pictures! I love the progression, gets you right in there! I found your blog via Blotanical :)