Find more of my photographs and information similar to that which I post in this blog in my book Naturally Curious, which is being published this fall.
After the spathe (hood) dies back, Jack-in-the-pulpit fruit is more obvious, especially as the green berries turn brilliant red this time of year. The tissues of Jack-in-the-pulpit, particularly the roots, contain high toxic levels of oxalic acid. The berries, if eaten, cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat due to physical cuts caused by the crystals of calcium oxalate. Even so, white-tailed deer heavily browse on it. Drying and roasting supposedly removes these toxins from the plant, and although I wouldn’t advocate doing so, some people peel, grind, dry and roast the root in order to make a bread or cereal that has a chocolate flavor. Sliced, roasted root “chips” are said to make delicious chocolate-flavored wafers.