Arisaema dracontium

 

Botanical Name: Arisaema dracontium
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Arisaemateae
Genus: Arisaema
Species: A. dracontium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

Common Name: Greendragon, Dragon-root

Habitat : Arisaema dracontium is native to North America from Quebec to Minnesota South to Florida and Texas, where it is found growing in damp woods. It normally   grows on the rich moist woods. Found mainly in wet woods and along the sides of streams, but sometimes also in dry soils.

Description:
Arisaema dracontium  is a herbaceous perennial plant growing  20–50 cm tall when in bloom and after flowering reach 100 cm, they grow from a corm.Normally a single leaf is produced with long petioles, the leaf is composed of 7 to 13 leaflets with the center leaflet the largest and leaflets becoming smaller as they are produced on the outside surface, the leaflets are held out horizontally over the plant. During flowering in spring a single, slender, green spathe 3 to 6 cm long is produced that covers a tapering, long thin spadix. The tall like spadix grows out around the top of the spathe. After flowering, up to 150 berries are produced in a club shaped column. In late summer the green berries turn orange-red, each berry produces 1 to 3 seeds.  It is listed as a vulnerable species in Canada.

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The unusual green dragon has an arc of long leaflets on top of its stem.The flower looks like a fleshy sheath with a long, protruding “dragon’s tongue  blooms during  May.  The fruit looks like a stubby corncob with kernels that turn red and orange when mature.

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Cultivation:
Prefers a cool peaty soil in the bog garden, woodland garden or a sheltered border in semi-shade[90, 134, 200]. Prefers a loamy or peaty soil and will tolerate a sunny position if the soil is moist but not water-logged and the position is not too hot or exposed[1, 200]. Tubers should be planted about 10cm deep[233]. Only plant out full sized tubers and mulch them with organic matter in the winter[200]. Plants need protection from slugs[200]. Most species in this genus are dioecious, but they are sometimes monoecious and can also change sex from year to year.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a cold frame. Stored seed remains viable for at least a year and can be sown in spring in the greenhouse but it will probably require a period of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 6 months at 15°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least a coupe of years until the corms are more than 20mm in diameter. Plant out into their permanent positions whilst they are dormant. Division of tubers when the plant dies down in late summer.

Edible Uses:...Root…… Considered to be edible once it has been dried, aged and elaborately processed. The root contains calcium oxalate crystals – these are destroyed by drying the plant or by thorough cooking.

Medicinal Uses:
The dried and aged root was used by the N. American Indians in the treatment of ‘female disorders’. The plant leaves were chewed in the treatment of asthma. Diaphoretic and expectorant in dry, hacking coughs attended with irritation. Dose of fl’ext.: 1 to 10 drops (0.065 to 0.6 mil).

Known Hazards: The plant contains calcium oxylate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten but they are easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arisaema_dracontium
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm
http://www.easywildflowers.com/quality/ari.dr14.jpg
http://www.cod.edu/people/faculty/chenpe/BLUFF/
http://www.usi.edu/science/biology/twinswamps/Arisaema_dracontium.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arisaema+dracontium

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