Joanie Lapic has been gardening in Pennsylvania for about 45 years, at first alongside her Daddy in his vegetable patches, and the past 20 years or so as an intent Herb grower and studier. Master Herbalist, owner of Everlasting Gardener in New Brighton,  Herb grower and teacher, lecturer, therapeutic horticulture teacher,  developer of Pocket Therapy aromatherapy products.
 

 

Green Dragon
by Joanie Lapic - posted 06/20/15

 


Arisaemia dracontium
(Arum Family)
 
I acquired this impressive plant in mid-June 2015, at the Harmony Garden Fair. The lady who sold them is on a mission to preserve these somewhat rare plants, and propagates them to share. It is considered to be less common than Jack-in-the-Pulpit She originally found plants at Camp Silver Lake in Marion Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. 
 
Its common name derives from the long spadix borne above the spathe, reminding us of a dragon's tongue.
 
"Green Dragon" enjoys rich, moist woodland or stream-side conditions, well-drained. It prefers part shade (not deep shade or full sun) in alkaline, neutral or acidic soil. I hope I can place my plants in a moist enough site, as there is no stream on my property - but I do have shady woodland conditions.  It's good to know that the plant can adapt to dry soil, I assume in the shade.
 
It is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8. Each plant can grow up to 3 feet high by about 1 and 1/2 feet wide. The leaf is as follows: one leaf forked into 5 to 15 lance-shaped leaflets on a horse-shoe shaped frond. Green Dragon blooms in western Pennsylvania in late May to early June. Flowers are tiny white to pale yellow or green, upon a spadix, inside a hooded spathe. Plants are dioecious, meaning each plant is either male or female, but not on the same plant, and they are not able to self-fertilize. To propagate by seed, there must be two plants, one of each sex. They are pollinated by flies. The flower (immature green seed head closeup shown here) develops into orange-to-red berries
 
 
The root can be used as food, but CAUTION - it contains calcium oxalate crystals. These cause 'needle-prick' pain in the mouth and must be boiled or dried before eaten.
 
SOURCES OF INFORMATION:
http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Arisaema_dracontium
http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/a/arisaema-dracontium=green-dragon.php
http://edibleandmedicinalplants.weebly.com/poisonous.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arisaema+dracontium
 
 

 

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