Dracunculus vulgaris, commonly called 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.
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 and 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.
Common Name: dragon arum
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Native Range: Algeria, southeastern Europe, Turkey
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Maroon purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Flower: Showy, Fragrant