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FutureStarrA Arisaema Dracontium
Arisaema dracontium is an annual herbaceous plant of the mint family Lamiaceae, native to Southern Europe and Southwest Asia, with linear leaves. dragon's blood is the popular name for a scarlet-colored juice which exudes from the roots of the plant.A rare species in Minnesota, Green Dragon was listed as a state Special Concern species in 2013 due to its low populations, limited geographic range in the state, and the risk of loss of its specialized habitat (primarily floodplain forest) from development and invasive species. While its bright red fruit is similar to the related Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), the flower and leaves are different enough to easily distinguish the two.My mystery plant has been confirmed by DNR botanist as Arisaema dracontium I sent photos of leaves and stems. They are in a wet then moist area near volunteer Jack in the Pulpit. I am still a bit puzzled and amazed.
Like its smaller, more common cousin, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Green Dragon thrives under a variety of conditions, but grows most vigorously in moist, shady, seasonally wet locations. It is also deer resistant! It has a slimmer spadix or "Jack," the spongy, many-flowered cylindrical structure, that extends beyond the spathe or "pulpit", the leaf-like structure rolled around the spadix, without the overhanging roof or striped purple color of Arisaema triphyllum. It also has just one leaf comprised of 5-15 leaflets arranged in a semi-circle. The fruits are smooth, shiny green, 1 cm wide berries, clustered on the thickened spadix, that ripen in late summer and fall, turning a bright orange-red color before the plants go dormant.
The native Green Dragon occurs occasionally throughout most of Illinois, although it is uncommon or absent in the NW area of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist deciduous woodlands, shady seeps, and wooded areas adjacent to springs and vernal pools. The presence of this species is an indication that the original woodland flora is still intact. Green Dragon often occurs in the same habitats as the closely related Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-Pulpit), but the latter species is the more common of the two.Green Dragon is an attractive foliage plant for shady places and the unusual flowers are interesting as well. This species resembles Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-Pulpit) somewhat, but the latter has only 3 leaflets per compound leaf. There are also differences in the structure of their flowers: the spadix of Green Dragon is much longer and strongly exerted from the spathe, while the spathe of Jack-in-the-Pulpit forms a hood over the spadix. (Source: www.illinoiswildflowers.info)