En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - July 16, 2014

From: Hocking Hills, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: The Unusual Foliage of Green Dragon
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I was hiking last week (July 7-11, 2014) in Hocking County, Ohio and while in a gorge along a river I saw the weirdest plant I've ever seen in my life. It wasn't weird because it had bizarre flowers or bright colors though. Everything about it defies all I know about plants and I honestly have no idea where to even start in identifying it. It's not a flower, doesn't look like a fern, is too big to be a tree sapling, and it's definitely not a grass. It was growing in loose, acidic soil and it was about 4 feet tall. The only leaves it had were large broad, oval shaped leaves at the very top and holding them up is a tealish colored stem. The leaves aren't in any familiar pattern I've ever seen. The best way to understand is to look at it: https://38.media.tumblr.com/b9a98f24dbf3568df73a42b3d0af322b/tumblr_n8kebjuSuI1tawhpvo1_500.jpg It was all by itself with no other plants its height around it and it's the only one of its kind I've ever seen.

ANSWER:

You certainly spotted an unusual and rare native plant! Called Green Dragon, Arisaema dracontium is in the Arum Family and only has 1 leaf, which is divided into leaflets that are arranged palmately and radiate outward along the stem. A separate stalk has the flower (which blooms in early summer). The flower is green and has a long spadix like a dragon's tongue. Orange-red berries form in late summer. Young plants will not flower until they are 2-3 years old.

Green dragon is related to Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum).

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Green dragon
Arisaema dracontium

Green dragon
Arisaema dracontium

Green dragon
Arisaema dracontium

Green dragon
Arisaema dracontium

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Need plants for steep slope in Knoxville, TN.
January 10, 2013 - I have several steep banks that have to be weed-eated each year every week. Do you know if there are any kinds of ground cover that would take over the weeds on these steep dangerous banks. I live in ...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID at Wildflower Center from Waco TX
June 18, 2012 - I was at the Center last weekend and no one was able to answer these two questions: 1. Where can I buy Silver Ponyfoot groundcover? 2. What is the name of the plant with coral blossoms in front of...
view the full question and answer

Low Ground Cover for Steep, Shaded PA Site
February 17, 2014 - I am located in Downingtown, PA, right on the border between Zone 6 and 7. Please provide a recommendation of a native ground cover for the following conditions: steep slope (greater than 45%), full s...
view the full question and answer

Annual Native Plants for Interplanting in Iowa
January 20, 2015 - I'm looking for suggestions for annuals that will flower from seed or from spring plants. I want to use them to fill in the space around newly planted coneflowers and asters that I fear will look spa...
view the full question and answer

Planting petunias around base of oak tree from Houma LA
March 30, 2013 - I live in south Louisiana and I want to plant petunias. Can I plant petunias around the base of an oak tree?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center