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Green Dragon

Arisaema dracontium   • 

Photo: Green Dragon

General description

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 one’s hand) on the tip of the forked stem, which is sometimes 20 inches long. A separate flower stalk hold the perennial’s unique blossom. 1 greenish, long-tipped spadix (the dragon’s 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.


Plant requirements

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


Water Use: Medium

Practical use

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


Greendragon was once a medicinal and ritual plant of the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin. The root was used in sacred bundles to encourage second sight in dreams. The calcium oxalate raphides in its tissues disrupt cells and cause an extreme burning sensation.


1 - 48 cm
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Full sun, Partial shade, Full shade
Moist but well-drained