Uncommon Species and Nature as Art
Once again this year I have been blessed to know the location of a very uncommon plant in Iowa – the “Green Dragon.” Green dragons bloom in specific habitats that might not be so difficult to maintain based on where these grow. The area I am watching has moist soil, much more shade than sun, and little maintenance – as in no fertilizer or weed-killer. Growing near the green dragon plants were Jack-in-the-Pulpits. The “Jacks” appear to be very healthy as they have grown quite tall.
Incidentally, I am aware of three green dragon plants in this area and know of one other area where the plants are established. Hopefully there are more than four green dragon plants in the county. If there are, I do not know of them.
The green dragon plants reproduce with very interesting reproductive organs as featured in the following images. The spathe wraps around the spadex – the six to twelve inches long yellow portion of the plant.
There may be a very important characteristic of the green dragon plant to appreciate. According to an Internet site, green dragon plants attract flies and gnats (I suppose for pollination). The “good” in this is that there might actually be a value for gnats (hard to believe!) Several wild bird species are attracted to the seeds which I suspect is how the plants I monitor were established.
I am hopeful these plants continue to spread and further establish themselves. I will be selfish as I hope new plants continue to appear in the area I am watching.
While I was photographing the green dragons I noticed detailed patterns on one of the huge Jack-in-the-Pulpit leaves I was back-lighting. It was obvious to me that nature appeared almost “art-like,” so pictures were taken.