Today’s post comes from last spring. Towards the end of spring, I was conducting one of my “shortie” woodland wildflower workshops, and was helping one of the students photograph some gorgeous Bluebells. As she patiently worked at moving her tripod around to find the ideal composition, I decided to sit down and let her work on her own, but be there for any questions or help she may need. As I removed my backpack and sat down, I placed my hands behind me and leaned back. In doing so, I felt a rather stiff, tall plant stem. Looking around, I was shocked to see a group of 3 Jack-in-the-Pulpit wildflowers! I had often looked for these beauties, but had never found one … until that morning. Here are a few of my favorite images:
I have searched in my woods surrounding my rural home several times, but had never spotted a single Jack-in-the-Pulpit (when I purchased the land about 16 years ago, I was told that a single Jack-in-the-Pulpit was spotted in the woods … but I have never found it). Looking again in early fall, I did find a clump of red berries in my woods. After researching them, I believe these are the fruit from a Jack-in-the-Pulpit wildflower:
The information I found on the berries indicates that they can be quite irritating to skin or when ingested. The berries contain needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate that can cause irritation to sensitive or broken skin when touched, and a burning and swelling of the lips and tongue if eaten. Reading this, I decided to wait a while to be sure the berries were ripe, then I would plant some of the berries (while wearing protective gloves) to try to get more growing in my woods. However, a couple of weeks later, the seeds were all gone … guess the birds beat me to them! This year, I have marked the location I found the wilted plant and red fruit; once I find them this year, I will beat the birds to them!
Photographic Equipment Used:
- Canon 5D Mark 3 body
- Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
- Bogen 3221 Tripod, with ballhead
- ISO 500 (plants) and ISO 800 (fruit)
- Aperture f/3.5 to f/8
- Shutter 1/15 sec. to 1/640 sec.