Amorphophallus paeoniifolius inflorescence

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius inflorescence

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius or Elephant Yam is a tuberous plant with a striking dark brown inflorescence.

It belongs to the arum family or Araceae.

Mostly grown in India and Sri Lanka for its starchy tuber. Since the plant contains calcium oxalate in all parts, it is only suitable for consumption after long cooking or drying out.

Although the flower is beautiful, it stinks of rotting flesh to attract pollinators.

It is not hardy but can overwinter indoors during the rest period.

Description:

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius is a tuberous plant that can grow up to 2 m.

The tuber can be up to 50×30 cm and weigh 15 kg. The tuber bears obvious root scars.

The plant usually produces 1 and sometimes 2 leaves per tuber. The petiole is up to 2 m high and 20 cm in diameter with a rough wart-like surface. It is light to dark green or black, with pale spots and numerous small dark spots. The leaf blade is up to 3 m in diameter and deeply divided into segments.

Flowering takes place in the spring, before the appearance of the leaves, and is very short. Then 1 (2) leaves appear which wilt in automn, when the plant enters a rest period.

The spadix measures ​​up to 70 cm long. Female flowers are at the bottom, male flowers at the top. At the top of the spadix is a spherical, dark brown, rounded and deeply wrinkled appendix.

The spadix is surrounded by a pale green to dark brown spathe with lighter spots on the outside. The spathe can be wide 60 cm long and 45 cm.

Fruits is approximately 2 × 1 cm in size, bright red at maturity.

Use:

  • food: the tuber is very starchy and an important food crop in India and Sri Lanka, elsewhere only a famine crop.
  • fodder
  • medicinal: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-flatulence, digestive, aphrodisiac, rejuvenating and tonic
  • decorative
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius leaf

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius leaf

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Elephant yam, elephant foot yam, whitespot giant arum, stink lily, telinga potato (English); suram, jimmikand (India); buk (Thailand); suweg, walur, eles (Indonesia)

Synonyms:

Amorphophallus bangkokensis, Amorphophallus campanulatus, Amorphophallus campanulatus, Amorphophallus dubius, Amorphophallus gigantiflorus, Amorphophallus microappendiculatus, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius var. campanulatus, Amorphophallus rex, Amorphophallus sativus, Amorphophallus virosus, Arum campanulatum, Arum campanulatum, Arum decurrens, Arum rumphii, Candarum rumphii, Dracontium paeoniaefolium, Hydrosme gigantiflora, Hydrosme gigantiflorus, Plesmonium nobile

Etymology:

Amorphophallus: from the Greek amorphos (shapeless) and phallos (phallus)
Paeoniifolius: from the Greek paiōnía (peony) and the Latin folium (leaf)

Origin:

Southeast Asia



Habitat:

Secondary forest or highly disturbed areas, up to 800 m high

Hardiness:

USDA zone 10-11

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius corm

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius corm

Care:

Soil:

Well-drained, fertile soil

Exposure:

Sun, light, partial shade

Water:

Keep the substrate moist until the leaves appear. Then it needs to be watered abundantly as growth is quite fast.

Feed:

Fertilize weekly during the growing season with high phosphate fertilizer 15-30-15

Pot:

Best grown in pot because it needs to be dry in winter. Harvest the tuber in autumn, when the leaf has wilted. Ideal temperature in winter is 5-10 °C.

From early spring, you need to keep an eye on the tuber because the inflorescence appears first. Then you can plant it in a pot and move it to a warmer room or warm greenhouse.

Propagation:

Seed

Sowing instructions:

  • plant in a moist substrate
  • 25 °C
  • germination time: 1-8 months
  • repot the seedlings when they are large enough to handle
  • outdoor planting in late spring or early summer, when all danger of frost has passed

Image sources

  • Amorphophallus paeoniifolius inflorescence: Fotokannan

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