Green Dragon, Arisaema dracontium, Watercolor, ©Heeyoung Kim
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum and Green Dragon, Arisaema dracontium are quite eye-catching Midwest native plants. From early spring their unique flowers give us very pleasant story. Actually their flowers are almost not seen. The petal-like shape which we usually misunderstand as a flower, is spathe. I just call it 'hood'. Inside the spathe, there is spadix which I call 'tongue'. Flowers bloom around the spadix, and they develop berries in late summer when the plants are big and healthy enough. This may sound strange, but this unique plants are indecisive about their gender until they figure out if they are big enough to be female and bear berries. When they are not big enough, they just die out without fruiting.
At this time we can spot red, or orangish green berries on the ground in woodlands. They give sparkling color to the muted colored or yellow dominated fall garden. Jack... and Green Dragon berries look alike. You cannot even tell which is which, when you don't see leaves and stems.
While I was working with this Green Dragon watercolor painting (well, this is part of the whole painting), I particularly tried to emphasize the berries. Every single berry has different shape and size, and all of them face different directions... They are just fascinatingly beautiful!