Green Dragon, Dragon Root
Synonyms of Arisaema dracontium: Arisaema boscii Blume, Arisaema plukenetii Blume, Arum dracontium L., Arum exsertum Salisb., Muricauda dracontium (L.) Small
Arisaema dracontium (L.) Schott is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Arum. 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.
Plants of the World Online lists 197 species in the Arisaema genus (as of 4-24-20 when I am updating this page. It is a member of the Araceae Family with a total of 129 accepted genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made.
There are several links at the bottom of the page for further reading and for 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 unto 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 Dragon’s with only three leaflets.
The leaves of older plants continue to grow larger… AWESOME!
I will keep going back to the woods and there will be more photos…
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. 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. 🙂