PLANT OF THE MONTH
Dracunculus vulgaris (Dragon arum)
This impressive aroid from the eastern Mediterranean is always a talking point wherever it’s grown. In my garden its shoots usually appear in March, the attractive mottled stems grow quickly reaching around a metre with pale green, usually marbled, leaves. By the end of May a large bud is formed opening to a dramatic purple-maroon spathe with a long purple spadix protruding from it. As it’s pollinated by flies it does give off the smell of rotting meat, but only briefly and is worth enduring to enjoy growing such an impressive plant. Dragon arums grow best in a sheltered shady site. Plant tubers in plenty of mixed in sand and grit to prevent rotting in winter.