Sixty years ago this neighborhood was on the forested outskirts of Nashville. Our house was built in 1959 and the first owners planted trees to compliment the giant oak that stood sentinel over the small woods at the back of the property. In the woods and throughout the yard wildflowers of the Central South continued to flourish!
The spring after we moved here... I noticed the Green Dragon growing in a grassy damp spot. A dizzy view but you can see the palmate leaf structure
Arisaema dracontium has only one true leaf. The leaf stem forks giving the appearance of two separate leaves. Each then divided into 5–15 unequal leaflets which are arranged palmately on the tip of the forked stem. I've measured them and when happy can grow to be over three foot tall with a 15 inch leaf spread. They make a nice statement en mass.
I gently dug up the plant careful to get the corm and planted him in my first small wildflower garden. He survived and thrived.
The offspring of the original GD are still there...
Growing among the Christmas Ferns and native ginger
But, then I began to notice it dotted about the other shady garden beds. I hadn't transplanted them or seeded them.
The seeds have to be dispersed somehow and these are not plants that shoot them across the garden like witch hazels! ripe seed heads (Albert Vicks, Lady Bird Johnson Center photo)
Wild turkey is thought to eat them and wood thrush...I've seen neither here. I wonder if ants may be the dispersers. Ants are responsible for dispersing the seeds of as much as a third of the plants at the understory of North Eastern deciduous forests. They carry the seeds away...eat the protective protein cover and deposit the seeds in their midden! (Yep, ants have middens...their equivalent of a compost pile! Their waste dump!) So, maybe ants are carrying them to new locations.
Green Dragon and his progeny seem quite happy here at Clay and Limestone....especially with all the rain we've had this spring. The wildflower books recommend rich, moist soil in dappled shade. They are found growing in deciduous forests in the Eastern half of North America. Just give them a little water if they dry out and they will be happy in your shadier gardens.
"A separate flower stalk hold the perennial’s unique blossom. One 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." (Lady Bird Johnson Center said it better then I could)
I like Green Dragon. His cousin Jack in The Pulpit may have a more colorful flower, but these leaves bring an interesting look to a wildflower garden.
My friends~~thank you for stopping by~~I hope you have a delicious day filled with gardening, friendship and adventure.