The Life Of An Amorphophallus

The amorphophallus from the Arum family, known either as Zaminkand or more popularly Corpse Lily (referencing their larger cousins)is a elusively beautiful plant. ‘Amorpho’ meant – misshapen, and ‘phallus’ meant penis – which refers to the tip of the flower or spadix.

Found in many countries, from miniature sized plants to the world’s largest unbranched flower (upto 2.5m is the Titan Arum).

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Titan Arum – Amorphophallus titanium

The amorphophallus is an oddity of nature, with it’s odd growth cycle that eludes people for many years, until one day, it blooms into it’s impressive recognisable flower.

Life-Cycle-of-the-Titan-Arum

As you can see, the plant has a very unusual life cycle, alternating between leaf cycle and flower cycle. Which makes it difficult to recognise during it’s leaf cycle as it appears to be a tree.

Amorp konjac petiole, rachis, leaflets

And what’s even odder is, when not in bloom, what appeared to be a tree with trunks and branches are in reality, one giant leaf! This plant gets even weirder by only blooming once every 6-10 years, with it’s beautiful bloom only lasting 1-2 days.

And to top it off, the plant smells like carrion, or dead animals, hence it’s many haunting names from corpse flower, to voodoo lily.

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I have the opportunity to see some in the wild, and many more eluding people from sight by being a ‘normal’ tree. And I have the even bigger opportunity to get some seeds.

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Here’s my little plantlet, just germinated after 6 weeks. This is an Amorphophallus hewittii, the second tallest of the Arum family.

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Voodoo Lily – Amorphophallus Hewittii

I grow it in normal soil mixed with peat and organic compost. It took awhile to root, that i thought it has died as i’ve never grown them.

So there you have it, one of nature’s most peculiar plant, and let the journey begin!

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