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How Do You Harvest and Save Jack-in-the-Pulpit Seeds?

Overall, there are three simple steps to harvest and save Jack-in-the-Pulpit seeds:

  1. Wait until the perfect time to harvest the pod
  2. Remove the seeds from the pod
  3. Store the seeds in the fridge in a sealed container

In this article, we’ll examine how to harvest and store Jack-in-the-Pulpit seeds and other pertinent information regarding Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants. 

Jack-in-the-Pulpit Plants Information and Safety 

Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants boast gorgeous green and purple flowers, which transform into bright red berries as autumn approaches. 

But, despite their beautiful berries, it is inadvisable to eat them as they are toxic. 

However, although you can’t get any fruit from these plants, the “Indian turnip” is quite unique and can live for up to 25 years. 

Also, when planting Jack-in-the-Pulpits, you should remember that they take about two to three years before they produce flowers. 

Irritation

Jack-in-the-Pulpit is irritative if touched barehanded, similar to poison ivy.  

The main culprit behind Jack-in-the-Pulpits stinging abilities is its calcium oxalate crystals.  

Thus, you should always be careful when handling these plants. 

And swallowing this plant is also dangerous, albeit not typically fatal. 

However, if swallowed, it can burn your mouth and throat.  

It can also cause painful kidney stones. 

So, you need to take precautions before handling the seeds, which we will discuss below. 

Read Also >> Why Save Seeds?

2 Simple Steps to Harvest Jack-in-the-Pulpit Seeds

Step One: Wait Until the Perfect Time to Harvest the Pod

The Jack-in-the-Pulpit boasts a dramatic, hooded flower in the spring to midsummer.  

And after pollination, these plants produce a large clump of berries.  

To harvest the berries which contain the seeds, wait until the berries turn bright red, which will be in the autumn.  

You can then cut out the entire red seed pod.

But, of course, because of the toxicity, wear gloves so that your skin does not become irritated.  

Also, never touch other parts of your skin or put your hands on your face when handling Jack-in-the-Pulpit berries. 

Additionally, gloves will allow you to do the following messy part of the seed collection phase without dying your skin a reddish-orange color.

Step Two: Remove the Seeds

First of all, make sure you prep your work area before removing the seeds. 

As stated above, Jack-in-the-Pulpit seeds will dye most surfaces. 

So, either choose an area that you don’t mind dying or put down protection, such as trash bags or any other substance that won’t allow the dye to seep through. 

Now that your space is ready, you can start by squeezing the small, whitish-tan seeds out of the red seed pod. 

You should then place the seeds onto paper towels to absorb some of the juice and jelly-like material. 

Generally, you will find between one and five seeds inside each pod, so you probably won’t have to go through too many berries to get your desired number of seeds.  

Then, finally, when you have enough seeds, place them inside a fine colander and rinse off the excess jelly material. 

Read Also >> How to Harvest and Save Japanese Maple Seeds

How to Save Jack-in-the-Pulpit Seeds

If you don’t want to plant these seeds immediately, you will need to save them for later.  

You can successfully save these seeds by placing them in the refrigerator for 60 to 75 days. 

But before you put them in the fridge, you should place the seeds in moist peat moss or sand inside Ziploc bags or small food storage containers. 

And after 60 to 75 days, you can remove the seeds from the moss or sand and plant them in potting soil until they’re ready to go in the ground. 

A Different Way to Grow Jack-in-the-Pulpit Plants

Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants reproduce in two different ways. 

Sexual propagation reproduces through the red berries and seeds. 

Thus, collecting the seeds and re-planting them will give you a new plant. 

However, Jack-in-the-Pulpits also vegetatively reproduce because they have corms.

So, if you are not trying to grow from Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants you already have, you can buy corms to plant instead of collecting seeds.  

Corms are where Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants get their name as the “Indian turnip” because corms are bulbous stems that grow in the dirt and resemble turnips.   

Plants produce these corms to extend their reach, forming new plants.  

Therefore, if you don’t want to deal with seeds, you can also plant the Jack-in-the-Pulpits corms, which will give you a new plant.

Read Also >> How to Store Seeds Long Term?

Why Harvest Jack-in-the-Pulpit Plants?

Jack-in-the-Pulpits are interesting plants and a great addition to spice up the look of any garden. 

But, there are also some other great uses for these plants. 

A Tasty Treat?

Despite the toxicity, people do cook and eat Jack-in-the-Pulpit.  

Not only is the Jack-in-the-Pulpit nutritious, but it is tasty with a peppery flavor as well.  

And if you thoroughly dry it, you can eat these plants as potato chips.

Or, you can grind the plant into flour.  

The flour is said to have a slight chocolate taste, which you can use to make excellent biscuits, cakes, bread, and other sweet treats.

However, just be careful and make sure that you use a reputable source for instructions on how to ingest the Jack-in-the-Pulpit plant. 

Medicinal Uses

Native Americans used Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants as an aid for many ailments, such as headaches, snake bites, body aches, and skin diseases.  

You can even use Jack-in-the-Pulpit tea as a stimulant and aid in slowing colds and coughs. 

Interestingly enough, Native Americans also used it as a contraceptive, but doctors no longer advise this sort of application. 

Conclusion

So, you can now see that harvesting and saving Jack-in-the-Pulpit seeds is rather straightforward. 

But, if you do not already have these plants to harvest from, consider buying corms to start your own new ones.  

Or, of course, you can go ahead and harvest and store seeds from your current plants to grow next year.

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