Green Dragon, Dragon Root
Synonyms of Arisaema dracontium (5) (Updated on 11-13-22 from Plants of the World Online): Arisaema boscii Blume, Arisaema plukenetii Blume, Arum dracontium L., Arum exsertum Salisb., Muricauda dracontium (L.) Small
Arisaema dracontium (L.) Schott is the accepted scientific name for this species of Arisaema. It was named and described as such by Heinrich Wilhelm Schott in Meletemata Botanica in 1832. It was first named and described as Arum dracontium by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
The genus, Arisaema Mart., was named and described as such by Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius in Flora in 1831.
As of 11-13-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 210 species in the Arisaema genus. It is a member of the plant family Araceae with a total of 139 accepted genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made on POWO.
The above distribution map for Arisaema dracontium is from Plants of the World Online. The map on the USDA Plants Database for the United States and Canada is about the same. The species could have a wider range than what the maps show.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND BETTER PLANT ID.
I was mushroom hunting in the woods at a friend’s farm, with my camera, when I spotted this small colony of Arisaema dracontium commonly known as Green Dragon and Dragon Root. I knew it was some kind of Aroid because I grow Amprphophallus but I didn’t know the species. When I returned home with photos of 15 species to identify, I used iNaturalist to make a proper ID.
Arisaema dracontium is considered a herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up 2 1/2’ tall. Each plant “usually” grows a single leaf from a long, hairless (glaucous) petiole (what normal people would call a stem). Leaves can group to 2 1/2’ long x 2’ wide and are divided into 5-13 leaflets which can grow up to 8” long x 2” wide. The leaflets are narrowly ovate and have smooth margins.
Arisaema dracontium needs consistently moist but well-drained soil rich in organic matter to survive. They are fairly uncommon, so finding them in the woods is quite a treat. They are found in USDA zones 4-9.
There were no flowers when I found this plant but they will be AMAZING. The flowering stem itself can grow up to 12” tall. They will produce a pale green spathe about 2” long which wraps around the base of the spadix. The spadix can grow from 6-12” long. The spadix can produce male and/or female flowers but usually both. Information says sometimes they are unisexual… I have seen photos of the flowers and the male flowers grow above the female flowers. If I can find flowers the description would make more sense. Check out the links below and you will see what I mean. Missouri Plants does not list this species (yet) but hopefully, someday they will.
I found a few plants in another area that were just beginning to come up.
I went back to the woods on May 3 and found the Arisaema dracontium starting to flower. I have seen photos online, but it is AWESOME in person. Not only does the plant “usually” only produce one leaf, but it also only produces one flower…
Whereas the other Arisaema species I have seen online have a hooded spathe, the Arisaema dracontium is much different. The base of the spathe circles the apex of the flowering stem. The stem can be anywhere from 6-12″ up to the apex. The spathe itself will be around 2″ long, glaucous and glabrous, and partially open.
One of several good-sized colonies of Green Dragon in these woods.
The spadix can grow from 6-12″ long or more, the lower 2″ enclosed in the spathe.
Inside the spathe is where the male and female flowers are. In other words, the plants are monoecious with separate male and female flowers, but sometimes they are unisexual. The male flowers are above the female flowers and are both small and rather inconspicuous. Flowers last about a month and have a fungus-like scent that isn’t noticeable by humans…
I went walking in the woods again on May 10 to take a few new photos. I was amazed at how many colonies of Green Dragon I keep finding.
They are still flowering but most plants either haven’t flowered yet or they are too young.
The above photo shows a partially open spathe to reveal the fruit inside.
The above photo shows the point where the flowering stem emerges from the petiole. I am trying to use words that everyone will understand.
There were A LOT of baby Green Dragons with only three leaflets.
The leaves of older plants continue to grow larger… AWESOME!
While I was walking through the woods along the trail next to the farm, I noticed a few Arisaema dracontium. So, I guess I have them closer to home than I thought.
I like the leaves. Reminds me of the Sauromatum venosum I am now growing in pots.
I was very tempted to dig a few up and take them home and put them in the shade bed… But, left them alone to grow in their natural habitat.
I live on a small farm in Windsor, Missouri where I enjoy gardening, collecting plants, and identifying wildflowers. The farm is in Pettis County but Henry County is across the street, and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away. I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 250 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky
NOTE: Plants of the World Online is the most up-to-date database. It is very hard for some to keep with name changes these days so you may find a few discrepancies between the websites. Just be patient. Hopefully, someday they will be in harmony. 🙂
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
ARKANSAS NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
FINGER LAKES NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY
KANSAS NATIVE PLANTS
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂