Elephant Yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius)

This plant is distributed from India to Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea.  It grows partially shaded forests.

One petiole stands up from the underground tuber to form the pseudostem, which bears a three-lobed lamina.  The lamina is further divided once or twice to form 1 to 2 m in height of a pinnate leaf.  It expands huge, however it is one leaf.

The underground tuber grows 30 cm in diameter, and its outer skin is dark and looks like an elephant's foot.  Because of it, it has the name, Elephant yam.  Different from konjac imo (meaning a tuber of the Amorphophallus konjac), its tuber does not contain konjakmannan (glucomannan) but primarily starch and is edible.

Its flower is characterized by a bloom of plants belonging to the family Araceae.  It forms a spadix in which small inconspicuous flowers bloom around and which has an appendix at its tip.  The yellow bloom under the appendix is a cluster of male flowers.  Deep inside below the mail flowers is a cluster of female flowers made up of protrusions having small parts at the tips.  When blooming, it releases a foul odor and can be said to be reminiscent of a decomposed meat that lures flies into the flower and pollinate and fructify.

At the base of the spadix, the bract expands as if it wraps around the spadix.  Such a bract is called a spathe, and its linguiform part which projects long about its cylindrical part is called a limb (of the spathe).  It has a characteristic color and conspicuous shape that takes the role of petals.  It is thought that this structure confines insects inside longer to increase the probability of pollination.

Classification: Araceae Amorphophalus
Scientific name: Amorphophallus paeoniifolius
Japanese name: Zo-kon'nyaku
English Name: Elephant Yam
Native locality: Sumatra, Indonesia
Ecological description: Perennial herb
RDB : ---
Planting place: Aquatic Plant Greenhouse
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