These plants seem to be volunteers, they come up every year and the clusters of berries start out green and end up orangey red. The foliage, which withers pretty quick, has some of the same feel as peace lilies. We have no idea what it is, do you?
The plant in question is an Italian arum — actually a shade perennial. Related to our native Jack in the Pulpit which can also produce these seed pods, the Italian arum is not native, but has been around for a long time. The plants grow foliage in late fall to early winter, then the leaves die back with the onset of hot weather. If the plant bloomed with a spathe-like flower, the resulting seed stalk is left behind and the green berries turn a bright orange when ripe. It is striking to see these clusters of seeds with absolutely no foliage. It has become a pass-along plant, since they do multiply.
I recently saw this pod of bright orange-red seeds while hiking near Ferndale. I can’t identify it from any of my books. Can you help?
This is the seed pod of an arum-- either the Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) or Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium). The plants grow in the cooler months of late winter through spring. When they mature, the females produce a spathe like bloom and set a cluster of seeds. The foliage dies away with hot weather leaving behind the cluster of seeds. As the seeds mature they turn bright orange or red, depending on the species. While these two plants are native, a non-native species is the Italian Arum (Arum italicum) which produces foliage in late fall through spring, leaving behind the naked seed stalk as well.
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