Species At Risk

Green Dragon

(Arisaema dracontium)

Special Concern

Green Dragon
Green Dragon occurrences map


The Green Dragon is a perennial wildflower which grows 15 to 90 centimetres tall. There is usually just one long-stalked leaf divided into five to 13, sometimes as many as 21, elliptic to broadly lance-shaped leaflets.

A separate stalk holds the plant’s green-yellow blossom. A long narrow leaf-like cup surrounds the flower spike which protrudes beyond it evoking the idea of a dragon’s tongue. Numerous very small white flowers, lacking petals, are crowded onto the upper 15-centimetre length of the flower stem,. The fruit consists of a dense cluster of bright red or reddish-orange berries, with up to six light yellow or whitish seeds in each berry.

Action we are taking:


Primarily a plant of the southern United States, the Green Dragon is found from the Great Lakes region and southern Quebec east to the Atlantic coast, south to Florida and the Gulf coast, and west to Texas and Nebraska. In Ontario, it is believed to still occur at about 30 to 35 sites in the southwestern part of the province.


The Green Dragon grows in somewhat wet to wet deciduous forests along streams, particularly maple forest and forest dominated by Red Ash and White Elm trees.


Historical records suggest that Green Dragon was once more widespread in the province, occurring at about 85 locations. It may have declined as forests were cleared.


Green Dragon is listed as a species of Special Concern under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. Species of Special Concern do not receive legal protection under this act. All known sites where the plant grows in the province are on private land.

What You Can Do to the Green Dragon

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the Green Dragon. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in Green Dragon recovery. You may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • Green Dragon are pollinated by flying insects. Pollinators are in steep decline across the globe and they play a key role in the survival of many of Ontario’s rare plants. For information on how you can help scientists monitor pollinator populations in Ontario visit: www.seeds.ca/proj/poll.

Did you know?

The Green Dragon’s root is bitter tasting and poisonous unless specially prepared, but it was used medicinally by Aboriginal people and European settlers.

Did you know?

The Green Dragon flowers in May and June, pollinated mainly by small insects.

Did you know?

Green Dragon plants often grow in the same locations as the more common Jack-in-the-Pulpit, to which they are related.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.