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Dragon Arum

dragon arum

There are a small group of arum plants that produce flowers that are minute, but even they have rather large spathes or hoods that enclose a pencil-thin spadix. Arums are sometimes called dragon plants or dragon arums and are related to Jack in the Pulpits. Their botanical name is Dracunculus (drack UNK you luss).

Some native arums grow up to three feet tall with a flower spathe up to 18 inches long and six inches wide. There's one that is maroon-purple with a bizarre protruding spadix that looks like a blackish-red tongue.

The foliage of these plants is lobed and appears in mid-summer, followed by scarlet berries on a stalk that persist into fall. This plant looks tropical but is hardy in zones 6 through 10.

Some species of arums have flowers with an unpleasant odor, and some varieties have splotches on the stems. I have heard that deer avoid them, but some animal has munched on the arums in my shade garden.

Arums tolerate either acid or alkaline soil as long as there is good drainage. The tubers should be planted in the fall, and they produce offsets that result in sturdy clumps over time.

Some people refer to them as voodoo plants.

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