Pinellia tripartita 'Gold Dragon'

Common Name: green dragon 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to frost
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy


Grow in moist, rich, fertile, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Plants will spread in the garden by bulb offsets, bulbils, and self-seeding, but is generally not considered invasive.

'Gold Dragon' is reported to come true from seed. Best foliage color in part sun.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pinellia tripartita, commonly called green dragon, is a tuberous herbaceous perennial that is native to forests, forest margins, cultivated fields and roadsides in China, Japan and Korea. It typically grows to 8-10" tall. It is in the same family as and closely related to jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema). Leaf petioles and flower spikes rise individually from underground tubers. Mature plants typically grow to 12-18" tall. Each upright leaf petiole is terminated by a single trifoliate green leaf (each leaflet to 3-8" long). Rising above the leaves are naked flower spikes. Each flower spike is terminated by a flower structure consisting of a calla-lily like bloom that is not an individual flower but is a two-part structure consisting of a narrow columnar inflorescence (pale green spadix containing both male and female flowers) wrapped by a tubular spathe and blade. The spadix is fused to the inside of the spathe, so all flowers on the spadix face in one direction. The spadix has a very long, whip-like extension which emerges upward from the lip of the spathe for another 7-10" into the open air. Yellowish-green flowers bloom on the spadix in May - July (usually unseen because the spathe somewhat blocks the view). 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 words tri meaning "three" and partita meaning "part" in reference to the trifoliate (three-parted) leaves.

Common name of green dragon is in reference to the shape and green color of the flower structure.

'Gold Dragon' is a green dragon selection that features chartreuse-yellow foliage. Mature plants will reach 2' tall and spread to fill a similar area. Plants do not go dormant until fall and will flower freely from late fall to frost. The arum-type inflorescences are made up of a light green spathe surrounding an upright, 10" long, thin, light green spadix.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Woodland gardens. Rock gardens. Sun-dappled areas.