While trying to write a post about Cornus kousa ‘Gold Cup’, halfway through it I had to switch to the Arisaema triphyllum ‘Black Jack’. Truth is I have a fatal attraction toward the Jack-in-the-pulpits, one that’s going to last. This small, purple leaf Jack showed its sassy spathe from beneath a patch of weeds gone wild when I was weeding around the stock beds last week: Yeah, I’m here, where have you been until now? Sorry, I was really busy, it will never happen again… and being a plant of forgiving nature, it allowed me to take its picture.
It is the only deep purple leaf Arisaema that I know of in cultivation. I read that it was discovered by the plant hunter Bob McCartney in Florida (!), and although it is given by some as hardy to zone 6. It shows up later than the regular Arisaema triphyllum, usually at the same time with the Chinese A. ciliatum and A. consanguineum. The foliage is deep purple, shiny with a greenish back, and the inflorescence has the same deep purple colour with green veins. Strikingly different!
It grows up to 12” and will slowly form a patch. What I love even more is the fact that is a sport of our native Jack-in-the-pulpit, so it proves that it doesn’t have to be Chinese or Japanese to be different. Probably more native natural occurring varieties await to be discovered, and not only of Arisaema. So start hiking – go exploring!