Monday, March 4, 2013

Devil’s Tongue or Voodoo Lily


At the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio the Devil’s Tongue or Voodoo Lilies are blooming.

Amorphophallas Konjac Araceae

They are a quite spectacular sight to see because they are huge.
The tuber is approximately 10 inches across and the stalks are from 15 to 30 inches in length. Brownish green and white spotted.
The peduncle is 2 foot long.The spathe 8 – 12 inches long.  The blade is green outside and dark purple  within.


It is very popular in Japan as a cooking supplement for soups and stew-like dishes. The tuber are raised and then cooked (usually cooking is also done on a commercial basis) or reduced to a substance somewhat stiffer than gelatin. The resultant material is pressed into blocks and sold like tofu in the grocery stores. The Japanese pronounce it cone-yuk.

The main substance in konjac is called Glucomannan which has a low caloric content but is rich in dietary fiber. Clinical study indicates the Glucomannan may be responsible for weight reduction and reducing cholesterol in those who have high cholesterol. It is eaten in Japan to clean the digestive tract of toxins.
If true I think I need to eat a lot of it. LOL!


Once the spathe opens, pollination must happen the same day. The inflorescence, in many species, emits a scent of decaying flesh, in order to attract insects, though a number of species give off a pleasant odor. Through a number of ingenious insect traps, pollinating insects are kept inside the spathe to deposit pollen on the female flowers, which stay receptive for only one day, while the male flowers are still closed. These open the next day, but by then the female flowers are no longer receptive and so self-pollination is avoided. The male flowers shower the trapped insects with pollen. Once the insects escape, they can then pollinate another flower.
Nature is so fascinating.


These are typical lowland plants, growing in the tropical and subtropical zones  from West Africa to the Pacific Islands. None of them are found in the Americas.
They are beautiful to look at but you do not have to get too close to smell their nasty fragrance. LOL!

Everyone have a great week and….

Happy Gardening,



Janneke said...

This is a real huge Amorphophallus, fascinating and beautiful on your photos. Smaller cultivars are sold here in specialty nurseries, I bought one a long time ago but had no success in growing it. I know their very nasty smell, haha. Thank you for the great information.

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

They are amazing sculptures. I'll take your word on the fragrance and enjoy them virtually. Thanks for sharing.

Andrea said...

Hi Lona, i am so amused with your "nasty fragrance" description. I am very familiar with A. campanulatus here in our property, which really emits a foul odor, not nasty fragrance, i wont even call it fragrance at all, hahaha! I am thinking that maybe they will be extinct because anybody seeing the flower will cut it, so wont get pollinated. So mostly the survivors are the roots and tubers. My late father told us that during the Japanese time, some of them dug the roots for food, maybe because they know of this A konjac in Japan. Our species were also fed to pigs long ago, but not anymore.

Sunray Gardens said...

Very cool looking plant. Figures they would stink, but I sure do like the bloom.
Cher Sunray Gardens

pivi said...

How extraordinary plant ! I haven't seen before, and it's difficult to decide, whether I like it or not - maybe I like it :D

Becca's Dirt said...

Interesting plants.

Claudia Fugate said...

What an interesting plant. Thanks for the introduction.

Zoey said...

I would love to see these in person. The next best thing is looking at your great pics. Stunning flower! Thanks for sharing with us.

HolleyGarden said...

How interesting! They are so huge! Nature truly is amazing, and it's always so interesting to know how different plants get pollinated.

Janet QueenofSeaford said...

Very interesting Lona, I wasn't aware of the supplemental use of this plant ---which is so bizarre looking, and stinky!

Swimray said...

I've seen some photos in the past, but not of this size or color. Who would have know.

Nadezda said...

Hi, Lona! I've seen TV program about Amorphophallus,and remember all people closed their noses when have been near this plant. How did you feel this nasty smell?
Pretty photos!

Carrie Hampton said...

Have you seen the two at Wilson's Garden center in Newark?