Of course! It’s called a voodoo lily and it’s about to bloom in the temperate house of the conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. The voodoo lily (Amorphophallus konjac) is a perennial plant that grows from a bulb-like structure called a corm.
A mature plant produces one large leaf stalk that makes food for the corm. The leaf stalk then dies away and goes dormant. After dormancy the corm sends up one large flower stalk that, when it opens, smells like rotting flesh. (No exaggeration.) According to a volunteer at Matthaei who is also a chemist, some of the chemicals the flower gives off are called putrescine and cadaverine. The strong rotting-flesh smell attracts pollinators such as flies that visit carrion.
|An Amorphophallus konjac blooming several years ago
in the conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens.
Another voodoo lily is about to bloom at Matthaei any day now
(March 23-25 or so).
The voodoo lily at Matthaei should open its flower sometime around Saturday to Monday, March 23-25, depending on temperature and light, although, as with all plants, it’s impossible to predict exactly when it will bloom. As of this writing (March 22) the plant is in a pot located under the carob tree in the temperate house.
Interestingly, the corm is used to make flour and a kind of jelly and as a vegetarian substitute for gelatin in many Asian countries.
Don’t miss this amazing plant!