Saururus Species, Dragon's Tail, Lizard's Tail, Swamp Root, Water Dragon

Saururus cernuus

Family: Saururaceae
Genus: Saururus (saw-roo-rus) (Info)
Species: cernuus (SER-new-us) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Ponds and Aquatics

Water Requirements:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Vincent, Alabama

Morrilton, Arkansas

Merced, California

Santa Clara, California

Smyrna, Delaware

Bartow, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Green Cove Springs, Florida

Niceville, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Port Saint Joe, Florida

Sarasota, Florida(2 reports)

Barnesville, Georgia

Broxton, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Hanna City, Illinois

Ewing, Kentucky

Gramercy, Louisiana

Mandeville, Louisiana

Pownal, Maine

Crofton, Maryland

Fallston, Maryland

Mathiston, Mississippi

Olive Branch, Mississippi

Sturgis, Mississippi

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Croton On Hudson, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Greenville, North Carolina

Kinston, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Chesterland, Ohio

Corning, Ohio

Wrightsville, Pennsylvania

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Viola, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Houston, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Mansfield, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

La Verkin, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Canvas, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 19, 2015, keever from Raleigh, NC wrote:

I placed my Lizard Tail in a pot into my koi pond about 15 years ago. It grew and bloomed with no attention at all. About 5 years ago I filled in the pond and left the plant in place as it was well rooted. It continues to multiply at a faster rate now that it is planted in the ground. It does send runners underground. The only real problem is if you water from the top the limbs will fall over and usually will not stand up again. It is truly a carefree plant.


On May 23, 2014, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I grow mine in a plastic pot with no holes at the bottom to create a nice soggy mush in which it can live. I'm surprised to see people calling it invasive, since mine has grown only a few inches in the two years since I dug it up in Tickfaw. This time of year (May) you can see them blooming in ditches and canals around my area, namely the River Parishes of Louisiana. The most amazing stand of it I've seen is at the St. James welcome center on Airline Highway in Gramercy, La. Just a cool and elegant plant which I highly recommend. And it has five u's in its Latin name, which has to be some kind of record.


On Apr 25, 2013, PammiePi from Green Cove Springs, FL wrote:

I love this plant! I have a clump of these growing amongst the fern in a damp part of my yard, near my natural spring. It grows in filtered sunlight & has very attractive flowers and leaves. Easy to grow, and very hardy. This is a native plant which came up on it's own.


On Feb 23, 2011, greenhousegrany from Meriden, CT (Zone 6b) wrote:

I think some folks are confusing this plant with "Gooseneck Loosestrife" or Lysimachia clethroides. I can't say if they are in the same family, I've only grown the Loosestrife. Hope this helps!


On Feb 21, 2011, albergord from East Hampton, NY wrote:

I have something that looks just like this but I was told it was "Goosenecks".... are they the same? It has run rampant over a few years, and this year I have to start digging it up as soon as it appears. Very pretty, but really takes over.


On Feb 21, 2011, LeslieT from Bellaire, TX wrote:

Almost impossible to get rid of once you plant it. I had it in a bog adjacent to my pond where it was beyond aggressive, overrunning Pickerel Weed, elephant ear and Louisiana iris.


On Feb 21, 2011, Cymbalariadave from Barnesville, GA wrote:

The operative comment in the description of this plant is "can be aggressive". In my view it is a mildly attractive addition that should be grown in a container.


On Jan 31, 2008, rjuddharrison from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Hardy plant, that is a vigorous grower. If your in to butterfly gardening this plant is also attractive to catipillars. My plant is often defoliated as the larvae consume all of the leaves. Plant grows back just fine.


On Jan 30, 2008, slncls425 from Wrightsville, PA wrote:

I have the Saururus cernuus pictured and also have a similar one sold to me at a south central Pennsylvania garden center as "red-stemmed lizard's tail".
I wonder if the red-stemmed variety is native to the US or not? My observation is that the red-stemmed plant is more vigorous or aggressive depending on your outlook. Both are growing in a lined garden pond.


On Jul 19, 2005, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Lizard's Tail is a Texas Native Bog plant. Blooms April-August, perennial up to 36 inches high.


On Jun 8, 2005, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant came up on its own, and started blooming in early May.

It is a very attractive plant, and it gets full sun. Still going strong after a month.


On Jun 19, 2003, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

It's a biennial from seed.
We've had great luck w/ seed collecting and divisions.
A definite MUST for water gardens.
Ours has an earlier bloom time than listed above.
It opened today, last day of Spring.


On Jun 17, 2003, fidler from La Verkin, UT wrote:

Plant grows very well in the alkaly west and can provide bloom untill the frost kills top growth in late fall. It has performed well in gardens and ponds of mine in northen and southern parts of the state. Grow in pots in a pond, or in perminent locations in bog or waters edge. Makes a striking cascade down the side of a waterfall.


On Aug 8, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Lizard's Tail is a native to the Eastern half of the U.S. It blooms in the shade, a rare trait among water plants. Very easy to grow, it thrives on the edges of shallow water or in a boggy setting. Plant the fleshy rhizomes no more than 6" deep in a pond.

Blooms in white curving racemes (hence its whimsical name) in early summer. Second year to grow this plant, and I'm very happy with its performance.