Amorphophallus konjac (rivieri)
Amorphophallus konjac, (previously Amorphophallus rivieri) commonly called Devil's Tongue, Konjaku, Konnyaku, or Voodoo Lily, is an herbaceous, corm-producing perennial native to forest margins and open thickets from the southern Himalayas through southeast Asia. This species is cultivated around the world as an ornamental and grown throughout East Asia as a food crop. The round, flattened corms can reach up to 11" in diameter and will spread through offsets. The corms will produce a single, highly divided leaf with a pale pink petiole (leaf stem) mottled with olive green splotches. The petiole can reach 4-5' tall and the leaf blade can reach up to 4' across. When the corms reach maturity they will produce a large inflorescence (flower spike) before the leaf emerges (FOR US, IN MARYLAND IT IS JUNE IF THEY ARE IN THE GROUND, AND LATE WINTER IN THE GREENHOUSE). The aroid-type inflorescence 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 4'-5' tall bloom emits a strong odor of rotten flesh to attract pollinators.
This plant is just crazy fun! Nope, not a native here, but a real conversation piece. It is best grown in evenly moist, fertile, well-draining, humusy loams in part sun to part shade. Avoid hot, afternoon sun, especially when the leaf first emerges and is most sensitive to scorching. Fertilize regularly during the growing season. Reduce watering during the winter dormant period. The leaf and inflorescence are intolerant of frost but the corm is hardy from Zones 6-11. We are in zone 6B and the 11"-12" corms survive in our leaf compost every year (ambient temps have dropped to -5 degrees F).
A unique specimen for containers, mixed borders, or greenhouses. Starch extracted from the cooked corms is edible and used to make noodles, jellies, fruit candies, vegan seafood, and as a thickening or stabilizing agent in food and drink. The cooked corms also have various traditional medicinal uses. DO NOT eat raw. was the corms contain calcium oxalate crystals which cam irritate the mouth and throat.
The genus name Amorphophallus comes from the Greek amorphos meaning shapeless or deformed and phallus meaning penis.
The specific epithet konjac comes from the colloquial name for both the plant as well as the starchy food made from the tubers.
We sell the corms and plants in pots of varying sizes, from $7.50 up. If you are feeling adventurous and live close, you can purchase a 6' plant in a 15 gallon container for $75. During the dormant season, the large corms are $30 - $45 and will likely bloom the following spring.
Information adapted from: Missouri Botanical Garden