This Week’s Endangered Species in Focus: Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium)

 

greendragon1greendragon2greendragon3

 Description:

The Green Dragon is a perennial wildflower which grows 15 to 90 cm tall. It is mostly found in wet forests along streams, and forests inhabited with Maple trees. Its leaves are slender and arranged in a semicircle at the top of the plant, it has a dense cluster of bright red berries, with light yellow seeds in each berry. It has one long protruding stem that will flower in May and June (from which the berries will grow in late summer).

 

Status: Special Concern Provincially and Nationally

 

Important Dates:

June 30, 2008: Species Listed At Risk

June 28, 2013:  Management Plan  created for the Green Dragon

January 20, 2014: Government Response Statement  is created

 

Range:

  • In Canada, the Green Dragon occurs in southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec;
  • The following map, provided by the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre shows the species occurrence in Ontario:

 greendragonmap

Habitat:

  • Typically found along the river’s edge and in wet deciduous forests, particularly maple forests and forests dominated by the Red Ash and White Elm trees.

 

Threats:

  • An estimated 50 sites across Ontario have been lost due to forest clearing in developing areas;
  • The main threats are habitat loss and degradation;
  • Because of the species’ special adaptations to the floodplain habitat, flood control by conservation authorities may be contributing to its low survival rate.

 

Protection:

  • Visit Carolinian Canada Coalition’s Grow Wild Campaign (here) and learn how you can participate in protecting our endangered plant species;
  • The Management Plan created in June 2013, advises the Ministry of Natural Resources on ways to ensure healthy numbers of the species return to Ontario. The plan identifies actions that can be taken to ensure that it does not become threatened or endangered.

 

What YOU Can Do To Help: 

  • Should you come across a Green Dragon in its habitat, contact the Natural Heritage Information Center and report your sighting in detail here;
  • If you know the Green Dragon is growing on your land, contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to find out about becoming a steward in support of protecting the species;
  • As a wildflower, the Green Dragon plays a significant role in the pollination process. The population of pollinators (flying insects) is on a steep decline, contact Pollination Canada (here) to find out more;
  • Do NOT collect the plant for medicinal, ornamental or any other personal uses;
  • Fencing may be necessary to keep livestock out of the stream banks – grazing causes erosion, soil compaction, reduced water quality and damage to vegetation;
  • Become a member with your local Nature Organization and learn more about identifying invasive and endangered species.

 

FUN FACTS:

  • The Green Dragon’s root is bitter tasting and poisonous unless specially prepared, but it was used medicinally by Aboriginal people and European settlers;
  • When viewed from the side, it’s possible to imagine a silhouette of dragon wings;
  • The Menomiee tribe of Wisconsin once used the root of the Green Dragon to create sacred bundles meant to encourage second sight in dreams.

 

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One thought on “This Week’s Endangered Species in Focus: Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium)

  1. Good post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more onn this subject?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.
    Thanks!

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