Definition of jack-in-the-pulpit in US English:



  • Any of several small plants of the arum family.

    a North American arum with a green or purple-brown spathe. Genus Arisaema, family Araceae: three species, the woodland jack-in-the-pulpit (A. atrorubens), the small (or swamp) jack-in-the-pulpit (A. triphyllum), and the northern jack-in-the-pulpit (A. stewardsonii)

    another term for cuckoopint

    • ‘Jack-in-the Pulpits are native to wet woodlands and heavily foliaged areas from Nova Scotia to Minnesota and southward to Florida and Texas, so Kansas and Nebraska do not have exclusive rights to this exotic looking group.’
    • ‘Jack-in-the-pulpits are perennials that pass the winter underground as corms. In the spring, they send up a shoot, which unfolds one or two leaves and a "flower"’
    • ‘The wildflowers, many of which bloom in May, include waterleaf, wild ginger, red trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, smooth and woolly blue violet, Solomon's seal, false Solomon's seal, and enchanter's nightshade.’


Mid 19th century: so named because the erect spadix overarched by the spathe resembles a person in a pulpit.