Dracontium is a genus of 23 species of tropical American tuberous herbs in the Araceae family. Their resemblance to other genera such as Amorphophallus is somewhat misleading since their morphology differs markedly on closer inspection. The Southeast Asian genus Pycnospatha is closely allied to Dracontium. Dracontiums occur from southernmost Mexico (Chiapas) to Paraguay and most countries in between, including the West Indies. Although they are geophytes they do not occur in tropical dry forest but in various types of moist evergreen forest, often in areas with substantial annual rainfall. They are commonly found at the margins of forests and in disturbed areas. One species (D. margaretae) occurs in swamps. In cultivation these plants require warm, humid and partly shaded conditions. The tubers have perennial roots and should be kept moist even when leafless. Reference: Zhu & Croat's Revision of Dracontium (Araceae).

Dracontium spruceanum (syn. Dracontium loretense) is distributed from Central America (Costa Rica) to Southern tropical America. It grows from a tuber that is approximately 15 cm in diameter. The stalk/scape has a spongy texture/tissue 1 meter in length and a spathe 20-35 cm long, 3-6 cm wide and flower head (spadix) that is dark green, almost black. In Choco (Colombia) they call it the snake plant because of how the color of the scape/stalk is similar to a snake. They grate the bulb and it is used to dry up boils, and as an antidote for certain snakebites. Plant cultivated and photographed by Fabio F. Suarezmotta who collected it in the Lebrija River valley in the northern part of Santander Department (Colombia) in a pasture. He thinks that the periodic flooding of the Lebrija River carried the tuber from the wild down to where he collected it..

Dracontium spruceanum, Fabio F SuarezmottaDracontium spruceanum, Fabio F SuarezmottaDracontium spruceanum, Fabio F SuarezmottaDracontium spruceanum, Fabio F SuarezmottaDracontium spruceanum, Fabio F Suarezmotta

Return to the PBS wiki Photographs And Information page
Page last modified on January 28, 2015, at 08:49 AM
Powered by PmWiki