Arisaema dracontium (GREEN DRAGON)

Arisaema dracontium, the dragon-root or green dragon, is a herbaceous perennial plant in the genus Arisaema and the family Araceae. It is native to North America from Quebec through Minnesota south through Florida and Texas, where it is found growing in damp woods. It has also been reported from northeastern Mexico (Nuevo León + Veracruz) Plants grow 20–50 centimetres (7.9–19.7 in) tall when in bloom and after flowering reach 100 centimetres (39 in), and each grows from a corm. Normally, a plant produces one leaf with a long petiole, its leaf is composed of 7 to 13 leaflets, with its central leaflet being the largest one and with leaflets becoming smaller as they are produced distally, the leaflets are held out horizontally over the plant. During flowering in spring, a single slender, green spathe 3–6 centimetres (1.2–2.4 in) long is produced; it covers a tapering, long thin spadix. The tail-like spadix grows out around the top of its spathe. After flowering, up to 150 berries are produced in a club-shaped column. In late summer, the green berries turn orange-red, each berry produces 1 to 3 seeds. It is listed as a vulnerable species in Canada.
Common Name: dragon root
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Arisaema
Species: A. dracontium
Binomial name
Arisaema dracontium
(L.) Schott
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Light green
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Wet Soil


Best grown in humusy, medium to wet, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Needs constantly moist soil rich in organic matter. Does poorly in heavy clay soils. This native wildflower is somewhat uncommon and should be left alone in the wild.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Arisaema dracontium, commonly called green dragon, is very similar to Jack-in-the pulpit, except green dragon usually has only one large, long-petioled, compound leaf that is divided into 7-15 lance-shaped leaflets and has a greenish spadix which is narrower and tapers up and beyond the less prominent, greenish hood (lacks the distinctive purple striping of Jack) of the spathe. Also like Jack-in-the-Pulpit, this plant goes dormant in the summer, with the mature plants producing red berries which become visible in mid to late summer as the spadix withers. Roots contain calcium oxalate (same chemical as in Diffenbachia or dumb cane) and are poisonous in an uncooked state.

Genus name comes from Greek words aris meaning “arum” and aima meaning “red”, in reference to the red-blotched leaves found on some species.

Specific epithet means small dragon.


No serious insect or disease problems.


An interesting native spring wildflower for the shady woodland garden, wild garden or native plant garden. Grows well in moist conditions along streams or ponds. Combine with hostas which will continue to fill the space in summer when these plants go dormant


A single greenish yellow flower head (spadix) enclosed in a light green sheath (spathe) that is occasionally splotched with purple. The spathe is cylindrical, 1¼ to 2½ inches long and barely open at the front. The lower part of the spadix, inside the spathe, holds the tiny male and/or female flowers, the stamens of the male flowers pale yellow. Female flowers, when present, are below the male flowers.

The upper part of the spadix curves out of the top of the spathe then rises 4 to 10 inches in a long taper to a pointed tip, and is mostly erect. The flower structure sits at the end of a naked stem 6 to 10 inches long.

Leaves and stems:

A single palmately compound basal leaf is at the end of a stout, 1 to 2 foot stem, rising above the flower. The 5 to 13 leaflets are each 3 to 10 inches long, 1 to 4 inches wide, generally oblong-elliptic or wider above the middle, toothless, hairless, pointed at the tip, stalkless or short stalked. There is a continuous vein around the edge of a leaflet, creating a border effect. The leaflets are arranged along one side of the stem and hold parallel to the ground.


Fruit is an oval cluster of oblong to pear-shaped berries that turn bright red in late summer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!