22 October 2009


The woods behind our home is littered with the fallen fruits of perhaps twenty Arisaema triphyllum. I found the following comment in The American Woodland Garden, by Rick Darke (nice book!):
"...young plants of this species start out masculine, with only male flowers present or functional. As they grow stronger and more capable, they switch to feminine gender and produce only female flowers. If for some reason a plant becomes weakened, it reverts to masculine gender, since it takes a lot less energy to produce pollen than it does to produce a cluster of big red berries."
The suggestion is made that this woodland plant should be "the banner of the women's movement."


  1. That's interesting.

    The question is, what incentive do they have to EVER start producing female flowers?

  2. If so, it'll have to be called Jill-in-the-Pulpit.

  3. Hmm. I was thinking about this, and I seem to recall reading that mitochondria and chloroplasts are passed through the mother line in plants. I wonder if that has anything to do with them turning female? Maybe the genes for that are in the mitochondria/chloroplasts?

  4. @Hannah

    Or called Jackie-in-the-Pulpit :)



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