Clear Mountain Garden Treasures
 

Clear Mountain Garden TreasuresCulture and Germination - Voodoo Lily

tuber
A swollen underground stem, crown or root
see also Bulbs, Corms and Tubers.
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inflorescence
A flowering shoot with more than one flower.
Inflorescences may be branched or unbranched.
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spadix
The (often fleshy) spike inflorescence of aroids
that carry the flowers
see also Aroids.
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spathe
The bract that grows from a aroid's spadix.
Spathes are often modified to act as petals,
trumpts and elaborate traps
see also Aroids.
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deciduous
Shedding of leaves at the
end of the growing season
see also Plant Life Cycle.
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deciduous
Shedding of leaves at the
end of the growing season
see also Plant Life Cycle.
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Voodoo Lily
Family Araceae
Name Typhonium venosum
Common Name Voodoo Lily

 Pictures

This aroid originates from Central Africa, Arabian Peninsula, the Indian Sub-continent through to Indo-China and China. There are a number of synonyms, the most common being, Sauromatum venosum. It is grown for its very large decorative leaves that grows from a very large tuber. The tuber frequently produces small offsets. These can be detached and potted up as small plants. Often the offset tubers will self-detach, growing into a thick clump of plants. The leaves die back in the autumn.

The one metre tall inflorescence appear from the bare tubers and only lasts a few days. They are pollinated from carrion eating beetles and flies, and thus smell of rotting flesh. The smell originates from the top part of the spadix, which is several degrees warmer than ambient to release the scent. The spathe has reddy brown spots and look superficially like rotting flesh.

The bottom part of the spathe completely covers the flowers, and forms a narrow neck. On the first day that it is open, the female flowers are receptive. Insects are attracted to the smell and soon crawl in, pollinating the female flowers. They are then trapped inside the structure formed by the spathe and kept overnight. The next day, the female flowers are no longer receptive and the structures that trap the insects have shrivelled up. The insects are free to leave but on the way up, they brush against the male flowers, that by this stage has shed pollen. The insects pick up this pollen and fly to another flower to pollinate it.

Culture

Voodoo Lily is very easy to grow. It is fully hardy and will thrive on neglect. Its deciduous nature means that there is no need to provide winter protection, other than a thick layer of mulch. The flowers appear in the spring and can be removed if their smell is too much. Normally this is not a problem unless you stick your nose right up the flower.

Small tubers should be potted during the autumn or winter up in 5cm pots. They can be progressively potted up in larger pot as they outgrow their pot. Large plants can either be left in 30cm pots or planted in the ground.

Potted plants need moderate amounts of water while the plant is in leaf. Feed with an application of 6 month slow release fertiliser when the leaves start to grow. This will be sufficient for the year. There is no need to water the plant when it has no leaves.


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