Pinellia pedatisecta
Common Name: pinellia
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Native Range: Northern and western China, Japan
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Spathe (pale green) and spadix (pale yellow)
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Grow in moist, rich, fertile, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Best in part shade. Plants can easily spread in the garden to form a large clump by (a) offsets from the tubers, (b) bulbils which form at the base of the petioles, and (c) self-seeding which, in warm southern gardens, often borders on the invasive unless flowers stalks are removed prior to the dropping of the seed. Plants are probably winter hardy to USDA Zones 4-8, but some experts claims the plants perform poorly north of Zone 6.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pinellia pedatisecta, commonly known as green dragon or fan-leaf Chinese green dragon, is a tuberous herbaceous perennial that is native to shady woodland areas, forested slopes and valleys in northern and western China. It is the tallest member of this genus of diminutive aroids, typically rising to 10-18" tall with a spread to 10” wide. It is in the same family as and closely related to the more commonly known Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema).

Leaf petioles and flower spikes rise from underground tubers. Each compound, pedate, medium green, basal leaf has 7-11 ovate to lance-shaped segments (leaflets). The central segment of each leaf extends to as much as 7” long, but the lateral segments are much shorter. Rising above the leaves in summer (June to August) are naked flower spikes. Each flower spike is terminated by a calla-lily-like flower structure featuring a narrow columnar inflorescence (pale green spadix containing both male and female flowers) wrapped by a tubular spathe. The spadix protrudes like a dragon’s tongue as suggested by the common name of green dragon for this plant. The spadix terminates in a very long, serpentine, whip-like extension (tail) which emerges upward from the lip of the spathe for another 7-10" into open air.

Of the nine recognized Pinellia species, this is the only species that lacks the internal septum that partially separates the lower tube from the spathe blade.

Yellowish-green flowers bloom on the spadix in May-early August (unseen because the view is blocked by the spathe). Pollinated female flowers on the spadix give way to showy one-seeded berries which ripen in fall to green.

Genus name honors Giovanni Vincenzo Pinelli (1535-1601) of the Botanic Garden in Naples, Italy.

Specific epithet comes from Latin pedatus meaning shaped like a bird foot and secta meaning divided in reference to its compound segmented leaves which appear to be divided like the foot of a bird.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Woodland gardens. Rock gardens. Sun-dappled areas. Naturalize in woodland areas.