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Devil's Tongue Amorphophallus konjac

Phonetic Spelling
a-mor-fo-FAL-us KON-jak
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Amorphophallus konjac, or Voodoo Lily, is a herbaceous, cormous, perennial plant found in forest margins and thickets in China.  It has glossy brown edible corms (bobo-tuber) that produce rhizomatous offsets each year. The plant is widely cultivated in Japan and China as food source and as an ornamental. The corm is edible but contains calcium oxalate that makes it toxic if consumed raw. The large showy flowers are purple and appear in the spring. 

Plants tolerate a minimum temperature of 60 degrees F during the growing season, though the optimum range is 68 to 77 degrees F. Voodoo lily grows best in moist but well-drained, humus-rich, fertile soil and dappled shade. It does not tolerate clay soil. Avoid hot, afternoon sun, especially when the leaf first emerges and is most sensitive to scorching. Fertilize regularly. Reduce watering during the winter dormant period. The leaf and inflorescence are intolerant of frost but the corm is hardy. The plant produces one enormous leaf from the corm and one flowering stem annually. When ripe for pollination, the flowers emit an odor of rotten flesh that attracts carrion flies and midges. The smell disappears once the flower has been pollinated. The plant heats the flowering spadix as the pollen becomes ready for fertilization, which greatly increases the strength of the aroma released by the plant, attracting more pollinating insects.

Diseases, Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect pest issues.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Albus'
    Dwarf White Voodoo Lily
'Albus'
Tags:
#bulb#poisonous#colorful leaves#spadix#vegetable#malodorous
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Albus'
    Dwarf White Voodoo Lily
'Albus'
Tags:
#bulb#poisonous#colorful leaves#spadix#vegetable#malodorous
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Amorphophallus
    Species:
    konjac
    Family:
    Araceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used as a food source and traditional medicine in Asia. In Japan, the corm is known as a great source of Konnyaku, a type of flour used in many dietary products, and jelly.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Asia and southwest China
    Distribution:
    Primarily Asia
    Edibility:
    The tubers are starchy and edible when cooked like a potato. It is commonly dried and ground into a flour and used in noodles and tofu. Can be toxic if eaten raw.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Edible
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spadix
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    When the corms reach maturity they produce an inflorescence before the leaf emerges. The aroid-type infloresence is made up of a dense, spike-like spadix which bears numerous, small, male and female flowers and a leafy, dark maroon to purple-brown spathe with ruffled margins. The 3 to 4 foot tall bloom emits a strong odor of rotten flesh to attract pollinators.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    A bipinnate, highly divided, single leaf with a pink leaf stem grows from a corm. The leaf grows up to 39 inches long while the corm grows up to 1 foot in diameter. The stem can reach 4 to 5 feet tall.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Attracts:
    Predatory Insects
    Problems:
    Malodorous
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Toxic if eaten raw. This plant belongs to a family where members contain calcium oxalate crystals which, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if small needles are digging in to them. Calcium oxalate is broken down by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it, rendering it safe to eat. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Needle-like, calcium oxalate crystals; possible proteins.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Roots