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Arisaema dracontium (Green dragon)
Cressler, Alan

Arisaema dracontium

Arisaema dracontium (L.) Schott

Green Dragon, Dragonroot, Greendragon

Araceae (Arum Family)

Synonym(s): Muricauda dracontium

USDA Symbol: ardr3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Green Dragon has only 1 leaf; however, the leaf stem forks so that there appear to be 2 separate leaves, each divided into 5-15 unequal leaflets which are arranged palmately (like the upturned palm of oneís hand) on the tip of the forked stem, which is sometimes 20 inches long. A separate flower stalk hold the perennialís unique blossom. 1 greenish, long-tipped spadix (the "dragonís tongue") protruding several inches beyond a narrow green spathe. It is a narrow, greenish, hooded, cylinder with a long, upward-pointing "tongue". There are numerous tiny flowers crowded onto the 6-inch-long flower stem, the lower part of which is enclosed within the leaf stem. The white flowers are very small, with no petals or sepals. Orange-red berries follow.

The long tapered tip of the spadix resembles a large flickering lizard's tongue. (Lamb/Rhynard) Green Dragon is considered relatively rare.


From the Image Gallery

16 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Fruit: Green, Red, Orange

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Green , Purple , Brown
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: ON , QC
Native Distribution: Ontario and Quebec south through New Hampshire to Florida, west to Texas, and north to Nebraska and Minnesota. Also in eastern Mexico from Nuevo Leon to Veracruz.
Native Habitat: Woodland, Riparian

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Rich, slightly acid, soil.


Use Wildlife: Birds and mammals eat the berries.
Use Food: The swollen, underground stem of this plant, like that of its relative Jack-in-the-pulpit (A. triphyllum), can cause severe burning and irritation in the mouth if ingested uncooked.
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Symptoms include irritation and swelling of lips, tongue, and throat. Toxic Principle - Calcium oxalate crystals and other toxins.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: High


Description: Propagate by tuber division or seed. Divide tubers when the plant dies down in late summer. Seeds may be sown outside in late fall, 3/4 inch deep, or the following spring with or without cold treatment. Seeds should not be allowed to dry out. This species will not flower until the second or third year after germination.
Seed Collection: Collect fruits in fall (mid-August to early September) when the berries are red and remove the small brown seed from the pulp. Wear gloves as berry juice may irritate skin.
Seed Treatment: Stratify stored seeds by placing them in moist sphagmun moss and refrigerating 60 days before planting.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Plant identification, green and tube-like
September 18, 2008
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 1262 - Plants of Carolinian Canada (1994) Lamb, Larry and Gail Rhynard
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Arisaema dracontium in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Arisaema dracontium in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Arisaema dracontium


Record Modified: 2022-11-23
Research By: NPC

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