Dracunculus Vulgaris

Dragon arum is a tuberous herbaceous perennial that is native to rocky areas and hillsides in the central to eastern Mediterranean areas from Greece to the Balkans to Turkey. It typically grows to 3' tall and features large, erect, fan-shaped, palmately-divided, dark green leaves (to 12" long) that are often streaked with white.

Each leaf has 9-15 finger-like lobes reportedly resembling in appearance the claw of a dragon, hence the common name. Leaves appear in clusters on a stalk-like, black/purple-spotted pseudostem. Large, foul-smelling, maroon-purple spathes (each to as much as 20" long and 8" wide) appear above the leaves in late spring/early summer.


The foul odor of the spathes, sometimes described as akin to the nauseous aroma of rotten meat, attracts flies for Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, rich soils. Spreads by self-seeding and bulb offsets. Plants are not reliably winter hardy throughout the northern area where mulch should be applied in winter to help protect them from cold temperatures. In cold winter areas north of USDA Zone 6, tubers may be dug up in autumn, overwintered indoors and replanted in spring in somewhat the same manner as dahlias.



Hardiness zone: 7 to 10

Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet

Bloom Time: June to July

Bloom Description: Maroon purple

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Low

Flower: Showy, Fragrant