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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trillium and Jack in the Pulpit

Jack in the pulpit
The old adage of "leaves of three let them be, does not quite apply to all plants.  Jack-In-the-Pulpit and our native trillium's both have leaves of three.  The two plants look fairly similar and can be easily confused.  

While hiking down the PA Grand Canyon I spotted both plants growing side by side and proceeded to give a dissertation as to how you can tell the plants apart--much to the chagrin of my hiking buddies, though on unknown person hiking on the trail was appreciative of the knowledge!

Trillium with closer look at the veins
I spent some time yesterday looking at some blooming trillium and helping with the identification of the trillium vs. jack-in-the-pulpit, so I thought I would share it with everyone.  The most distinguishing factor between the two plants are the veins in their leaves.  The trillium has veins that run almost parallel to the main vein of the leaf, where the Jack-in-the-pulpit veins run more perpendicular.  

 This is a great time of the year to get out and look for trillium blooming in your woodlands.  If you find any plants, it is important to think about ways to protect them from deer browse.  Our trillium populations have decreased over the years because they are quite tasty morsels for the deer.  You can either use cages to protect a small population or explore other deer exclosure and repellent options. 

Happy Trillium hunting!! Speaking of leaves of three--everyone knows that poison ivy is a reddish color at this time of the year right?!


  1. Thank you! I was just doing a late-sumer baseline assessment in an area with both trillium and Jack in the Pulpit, and suddenly realized I really couldn't tell the two apart when they weren't blooming. This was very helpful.


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