Kindling Neighborly Connections between People and Nature.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Green Dragon of the Susquehanna at Athens/Sayre River Trail

A nice profile of the entire plant.
While sauntering the west bank of the Susquehanna River near Athens, I had the joy of getting to know a (new to me!) wild neighbor. It goes by the name green dragon (Arisaema dracontium). I don't think I've ever heard a more awesome name for a plant. To me it's a fascinating plant for a number of reasons.

The thing about it that initially captures my curiosity is the long thin part of the flower that is called the spadix, which stands erect reaching five or six inches above the hood out of which it emerged. The flower's inflorescence resides inside of this hood.

Nicely illumined by the morning sun.
The second interesting characteristic about this plant is the flat whorl of leaves that sits above it's flowering part. Looking at it from above and from the side, I wonder if this whorl of leaves is the reason for it's common name.

The third thing I like about this particular wild neighbor is that it is a unique representative of the diverse riverine forest that it calls home.

After spending two days exploring the banks of the Susquehanna in the Athens and Sayre, PA area, and getting acquainted with a wonderful variety of birds, plants and trees, I'm thinking that this "land of the green dragon" might end up being my adopted wild space while I serve in the Athens community.

The green dragon is one of countless wild neighbors whom I've witnessed rooting, climbing, reaching, crawling, walking, hopping, swimming, and flying in and around the Susquehanna River in the Athens and Sayre area these past few days. I feel like at this point I've just barely scratched the surface of a truly remarkable wild space.

A convenient location, just next to the trail!

Whorl of leaves as seen from above.

Can you see it's "dragon wings"?

Erect spadix protrudes from the flower stalk extending high above its hood.

Inflorescence tucked within it's hood.

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