Arisaema triphyllum


Bon appétit, Jack!


Arisaema triphyllum is part of the Kingdom Plantae, which includes all plants.  This means that the jack-in-the-pulpit acquires the nutrients it needs to function via a process called photosynthesis.  Photosynthesis follows this basic equation:

6CO2 +6H2O   =   C6H12O6 + 6O2

More plainly, a plant will take in carbon dioxide and water and convert them into sugar after absorbing light.  In this process, it also produces oxygen as a byproduct.

As in most plants, photosynthesis takes place in the leaves of the jack-in-the-pulpit.  Although the spathe, which is Jack's canopied "pulpit", is actually a modified leaf, it does not conduct photosynthesis.  In all other leaves, the chloroplasts are the special organelles that are involved directly in photosynthesis.  An organism that uses photosynthesis to create energy is very dependent on its environment.  Find out where the jack-in-the-pulpit lives!
 Of course, photosynthesis is a lot more complicated than that.  For a more detailed explanation of this process, check out this page devoted to photosynthesis.

Back on the adaptation page, it was mentioned that Arisaema triphyllum is a part of a subkingdom called Tracheobionta, which means that it is a vascular plant.  Vascular plants contain xylem and phloem, which are known as vascular tissue.  This tissue is in charge of the transport of water, nutrients, and sugars.  Water and nutrients are transported by the xylem from the roots to the leaves of the plant.  Conversely, the phloem carries the sugars produced by photosynthesis down from the leaves to the rest of the plant.

 Arisaema triphyllum is placed in the family Araceae because it possesses what is known as a corm.  The corm is in charge of storage.  The sugars created by photosynthesis that aren't immediately used to meet the plant's various needs are stored in the corm for future use. The amount of energy stored in the corm plays a large role in the gender of the jack-in-the-pulpit the following season.  If the plant has a rough year and hasn't stored much energy in the corm, it will most likely return as a male flower.  If, on the other hand, the plant has a good year and is able to store up more energy, it has a greater chance of being a female flower the next season.  Head over to the reproduction page to learn more about the jack-in-the-pulpit's reproductive cycle.