Dracunculus vulgarisDragon arum goes by numerous name such as snake lily, voodoo lily, stink lily and black dragon. It is a tuberous herbaceous perennial, a member of the arum family (Araceae), and endemic to the Balkans including Greece, Crete and Turkey where it grows on hillsides and rocky areas. In late winter to very early spring, dark purple blotched stalks carry umbrella-like leaves up to twelve inches long. The leaves are mid- to dark green, may be streaked or spotted with white, and are palmately divided into nine to fifteen segments that are said to resemble the claws of a dragon. The floral parts of the plant consist of a spathe and spadix that appear from late spring to early summer and last seven to ten days. The maroon spathe is up to twenty inches long and encircles a shiny erect maroon spadix. The spadix is ½-3/4 “ wide by about twenty inches tall, and bears hidden unisexual flowers deep within the spathe. The spathe produce a very unattractive odor that resembles rotting meat and attracts flies that pollinate the flowers. If the female flowers are pollinated they produce green fruits that turn red-orange when they mature in the fall. Avoid planting near patio or open windows where the plant’s odor would be offensive.

Bloom: Dark maroon spathe and spadix bears hidden unisexual flowers from late spring to early summer.

Size: 4’ H x 1’ W

Light: Full sun to light shade

Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7-10

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, offsets obtained by lifting the clumps in late winetr and replanting six inches deep

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By Karen