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Green dragon seeds

Green Dragon

Bring a tropical look to your garden with native, deer-resistant Green Dragon! This tall cousin of Jack-in-the-Pulpit sports an unusual leaf and even more unusual flower spathe with a long, fascinating spadix. In summer, a club-like formation of bright red seeds forms along the spathe, bringing a bright spark of color to moist woodland gardens. (Arisaema dracontium)

USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

  • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
  • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

Find Your Planting Zone:

24-36” tall x 12-18” wide. Who doesn’t want unusual plants in their garden that are easy to grow? Green Dragon is a gorgeous North American native that is guaranteed to elicit cries of “What is that?” from visitors to your shady spaces. Single leaves grow from a corm that is best planted in moist, rich soil. The compound leaf is arranged along a curved petiole, giving the plant a curious look that stands out from more common foliage types in the shade garden. The show gets even better when the spathe forms, highlighting a spadix which can stretch up to seven inches long. In the summer, red berries form along the spathe and the plant goes dormant. A terrific plant to pair with other, later plants such as hosta or ferns whose foliage will spread to cover an empty space. Like most arisaemas, Green Dragon is deer resistant and will slowly multiply by seed.

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Further Reading:

No longer available this season.

As soon as your order is placed you will receive a confirmation email. You will receive a second email the day your order ships telling you how it has been sent. Some perennials are shipped as potted plants, some as perennial roots packed in peat. The ‘Plant Information’ section describes how that item will ship. All perennials and spring-planted bulbs are packaged to withstand shipping and are fully-guaranteed. Please open upon receipt and follow the instructions included.

Perennials and spring-planted bulbs are shipped at the proper planting time for your hardiness zone. Perennial and spring-planted bulb orders will arrive separately from seeds. If your order requires more than one shipment and all items are shipping to the same address, there is no additional shipping charge. See our shipping information page for approximate ship dates and more detailed information. If you have any questions, please call Customer Service toll-free at (877) 309-7333 or contact us by email.

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If your order requires more than one shipment and all items are shipping to the same address, there is no additional shipping charge. If you have any questions, please call us at (877) 309-7333.

Green dragons and fiery seeds

Arisaema dracontium, a native plant that’s known as green dragon, perks up the fall garden with its fiery red seedpods.

Green dragon, Arisaema dracontium, is a native plant that produces fiery red seedpods in the fall to liven up the shady or partly shady areas of the landscape. Here it’s planted with Christmas fern, a good companion plant.

September 17, 2011

  • By Gene Bush

Arisaema dracontium, or green dragon, is what I call a “twofer.” It blooms in April, then the second half of the twofer begins in September as its seeds ripen, turning waxy, fiery-red.

Arisaema dracontium (which is native to most of eastern North America and the US Midwest) is a late riser. It does not emerge until well after jack-in-the-pulpit (A. triphyllum). In my Indiana garden, that is around the very last of April with warmer winters and the springs we’ve been having recently. Sometimes it’s the first part of May.

Unusual growth habit

When emerging the green dragon resembles an umbrella. Completely formed in all parts, the bloom or inflorescence pushes up first with the foliage unfolding along each side. The “bloom” matures, with foliage forming over it.

The size of the plant can vary greatly, due to genetics, environment, and cultural practices in the garden. Generally the height is from about 15 inches up to 30 inches.

The tall, stout stalk coming up from a shallow tuber has no foliage except at the top. Then there are 5 to 15 leaflets formed around the outside edge of a half circle that some liken to a horseshoe. The half circle sits centered upon the stalk.

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When mature, green dragon will “bloom” about one-third to one-half of the way up the stalk from the tuber. On a slender stem, a fleshy tubular-shaped inflorescence forms with a long pointed “tongue” reaching upward alongside the stalk.

This modified leaf can be up to two inches or more in length with the tongue reaching up to six inches or more. I have seen the various colorations of the tongue ranging from the same green as the rest of the plant to orangey-yellow.

The green dragon contributes not only great architecture to gardens, it also lends a sense of uniqueness. The most colorful part of having a mature green dragon is the seedheads, which are popular with birds and small wildlife.

After the plant has bloomed and set seed — come late August and September, in my area — the shiny green clusters of seeds will change color. Tall stalks will break and fall over so the seeds will be sown away from the parent plant.

The seeds will age to become scarlet-red, waxy berries in a tight head. The stalk withers, leaving the fiery seedhead lying across the green of nearby plants. I find the show of seeds to be as colorful as any perennial bloom.

Companions for a dragon

My favorite garden companions for the green dragon are ferns. Two favorite ferns are Japanese painted ferns of your favorite named selections, and Christmas fern for a native plant. Green dragon grows well in USDA hardiness Zones 4 to 9, from Quebec to Florida..