Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Amorphophallus Titanum- Corpse Flower

Amorphophallus (from Ancient Greek amorphos, "without form, misshapen" + phallos, "penis", referring to the shape of the prominent spadix) is a large genus of some 170 tropical and subtropical tuberous herbaceous plants from the Arum family (Araceae). A few species are edible as "famine foods" after careful preparation to remove irritating chemicals.

The Amorphophallus Titanum has been recorded as blooming fewer than fifteen times nationally but each time it blooms thousands of people stand in line to view this gigantic wonder.

The average height of the inflorescence of this plant is six and a half feet, although the tallest one on record was a whooping 10.75 foot. Once the tuber has matured underground, it will begin to produce a huge aroid bloom that generally is taller than most humans. The spadix grows rapidly once it begins, although in the beginning the spadix will be completely enclosed by the spath and bracts. The species Amorphophallus titanum, corpse flower or titan arum, is the world's largest inflorescence. Amorphophallus konjac tubers are used to make konnyaku ,a Japanese thickening agent and edible jelly containing glucomannan.


These are typical lowland plants, growing in the tropical and subtropical zones of the paleotropics, from West Africa to the Pacific Islands. None of them are found in the Americas although a remarkably similar but not closely related genus, Dracontium, has evolved there. Most species are endemic. They grow preferentially on disturbed grounds, such as secondary forests.