Green dragon is an herbaceous perennial native to eastern North America where it grows in damp forests. It is a member of the arum family, Araceae, that also includes Jack in the pulpit, caladium, elephant’s ear, and peace lily. The plant produces a single leaf one to two feet long with seven to fifteen leaflets that rise well above the inflorescence. The inflorescence consists of a green hood-like spathe and a long, tongue-like greenish spadix that carry the small greenish flowers. The flowers are followed by red berries that are revealed as the spathe withers away as the plants become dormant in summer. The genus name, Arisaema, comes from the green words aris meaning arum and aima meaning red in reference to the red leaf markings on some species. The specific epithet, dracontium, means small dragon. Although considered a rare plant, it is a good choice for a shade garden and is particularly attractive when placed in front of shrubs.
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Bloom: Spathe and spadix inflorescence with light green flowers in spring
Size: 1-3 ½’ H x 1-1 ½’ W
Light: Part to full shade
Soil: Humusy, moist to wet, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 4-9
Care: Low maintenance but goes into dormancy in summer and needs a replacement to fill its spot.
Pests and Diseases: None of significance
Propagation: Seed, division of tubers
Companion plants: Hosta, groundcovers, ferns, shade loving shrubs
Photo Credit: Frtzflohrreynolds, Wikimedia Commons