Help me id this plant.

Steve Selin sselin at vt.edu
Fri Sep 10 08:49:55 EST 1999


> Looks like a Jack in the Pulpit (Arisemea).  Not edible.

Looks like a Jack in the Pulpit to me too.  The starchy root is edible with
caution.  Another common name is Indian Turnip.

The plant (including the red berries contains) calcium or sodium oxalate
crystals which are painful and damaging to mucous membranes.  In fact when
handling the seeds extensively one must wear gloves or the skin may become
damaged. These crystal can be destroyed by thoroughly drying the root before
eating it.  Some say boiling is OK but that may be questionable

An interesting note is the fact that if you observe a single plant for
several years, some years it will be male and some years it will be female.
Sex is correlated with root mass and suggests that it will be female when
the root has stored enough energy for a good crop of seeds.

It's flower appears very early in the spring and i green, but quite
attractive.


Steve






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