SCIENTIFIC NAME: Amorphophallus
COMMON NAME(S): Voodoo lilies, snake lilies
FAMILY: ARACEAE - Arum family
ORIGIN: Tropical Asia and Africa, 90 spp.
HABITAT: Cultivated tropical landscapes; rarely as houseplants
CHARACTERISTICS: Large, underground corm with depression in middle, up to 3' wide
LEAVES: Single large leaf produced after flowering from the corm; leaf stem thick and mottled purple or white; leaf blade divided into 3 feather-like segments
FLOWERS: Individual flowers inconspicuous but borne on a huge (to 12') flower stem; the flowers are congested on a large spike surrounded by a funnel-shaped spathe bract colored purple, red or green; the flowers emit the odor of rotting meat
FLOWERING SEASON: Spring, summer
ALLERGENIC PRINCIPLES: Calcium oxalate
ALLERGENIC PROPERTIES: Dermatological
COMMENTS: The hundred or so species of this genus are grown as horticultural curiosities. Like most aroids, they contain irritating calcium oxalate. The tubers of some are a food item in the Far East after appropriate preparation.