Hardy, herbaceous, spring-flowering North American perennial
Description: Irregular shaped flower consists of a showy spathe (pulpit), which is green with deep purple or brownish stripes; and a club-like spadix (jack) covered with tiny male and female flowers followed by showy clusters of red berries; arrow shaped leaves
Habit: Grows 12 to 24 inches high
Culture: Thrives in moist, humus-rich, neutral soil; partial shade to full shade
Hardiness: Cold hardy to USDA Zone 3
Origin: North America
Attributes: Summer berries, rain garden
This familiar wildflower is commonly found in moist woodlands and thickets from Nova Scotia and Quebec to Florida and west to Minnesota, and it grows throughout the forest at Monticello. It is related to the Calla Lily and Caladium and is easily grown from bulb-like corms. Other common names include Bog Onion, Brown Dragon, and Indian Turnip. Native Americans dried and cooked the starchy roots and also prepared concoctions to treat sore eyes, rheumatism, bronchitis, and snakebites, and induce sterility. Flowers are pollinated by flies.