Julius and Michael:
Checked the IAS Dracontium pages last night and came to a similar
conclusion. Except for D. gigas, the rest of the spp. look fairly homely
from my perspective. I have come across our native species (D.
soconuscensis, I believe) when out and about and, frankly, wud probably give
it a shot of 'Roundup' or the business end of a machete if I found it
growing in the yard. Speaking of which, there are some enormous Xanthasomas
in my forested ravine, kept at bay (just barely) by a drop-off and a fence,
whose leaves cud build someone a nice weekend home!
The pics of D. croatii may not do the plant justice, although the spathe
does look impressively-proportioned when compared to veg. growth. Dare I ask
whether seed of D. pittieri and D. croatii are available in our fraternity?
Your comment on the spathe's light trap for pollinators is interesting. As
you probably know, many carnivorous plants with so-called "pitfall" traps
(incl. Nepenthes, Cephalotus, Darlingtonia and Sarracenia) have evolved a
wide array of fenestrations, "mirror" and light mazes, etc. to befuddle
potential prey into flying into their pitchers.
No wonder some early naturalists believed that some of these... er...
curiously-shaped spathes on tropical aroids were the funnel traps of a green