The last of the root structures that I wish to highlight is the Corm:
Corm: a bulb like stem which unlike a true bulb, is solid and sends down a root when the new growing season begins; its the actual base for the flower stem and has a solid texture; its also a storage organ to allow the plant to survive through winter or summer drought.
Many of our garden beauties have corms for root structure such as Crocus, Iris, Liatris and Gladiola.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit is a wild edible whose corm can be eaten. From what I read though the corm when pulled from the ground and washed needs to be sliced thin and let to dry for up to a year. Any sooner and it seems to leave a really burning taste on the palate due to its chemical constituent,calcium oxalate crystals. Air, heat and a long time to dry help these crystals to dissipate. In Roots, by D.B. Elliot recommends that one taste these thin slices carefully after a long period of drying. If no hot, acrid or prickly sensation on tongue or back of the mouth occurs they can be” roasted, salted and served like potato chips.” I have seen Jack- in- the- Pulpit many times in the woods behind the home where I lived when raising my children. I had not come across it ‘s edible quality back then. If you have tried drying this plant I would like to hear about your experience in drying and the end result.
I would like to end the discussion of various types of root structures with a poem. I came across a charming one with Jack in the Pulpit featured by Clara Smith, a delightful walk in the woods and the garden. Enjoy. Judith