Amorphophallus konjac

Konjac was my first Amorphophallus and continues to be the easiest to grow.  Last year, this particular tuber grew a petiole that was nearly 4 feet high with a leaf span 5 feet wide.  

As per usual, I stored the tuber in my basement ignoring it.  Two weeks ago, I went downstairs to find the tuber had grown an inflorescence.  I wish I hadn't ignored it for quite so long as I did.  I promptly potted it and began photographing it regularly.  What I found is that the colors appear washed out in regular room lighting.  They require very bright lighting to show the brilliance.  If you compare the various images you'll see just how many different colors this inflorescence shows.  

Click on these photos to view the full image:

konjac01.jpg (7382 bytes)
March 10, 2001

konjac02.jpg (4220 bytes)
March 14, 2001
Indoor,  using flash

konjac03.jpg (8773 bytes)
March 15, 2001
Outdoor, cloudy day
with fill in flash
konjac04.jpg (5023 bytes)
March 15, 2001
Indoor using halogen 
lights and fill flash

March 15, 2001
Outdoor, cloudy day
with fill in flash

konjac06.jpg (16945 bytes)
March 16, 2001
In greenhouse, 
sunny day, no flash

konjac07.jpg (37731 bytes)
March 16, 2001
In greenhouse, sunny day, no flash

March 18
Rot sets in

March 20
The spadix collapses


March 15, 2001
I had planned to allow it to continue blooming in the house.  After all, just how powerful could the legendary stench be.  Today, March 15, I was working near the tuber and still there was no odor.  At noon there was a mild odor and I figured I could tolerate this.  I laughed at all the fussy folks who grumble about the odor.

By 3 o'clock in the afternoon, my eyes were tearing.  I wondered if it was really the plant or if a dead horse had been dug up in my yard.  After two hours of using an industrial exhaust fan, the odor lingers.  Tonight the inflorescence is spending the night in the garage.  The outside air temperature should be down around 32 degrees.  That means the garage will probably be around 36 or 37.  I'll photograph it tomorrow to show the potential survival (or lack thereof) in cold.  I'm committed to aroids and do want to collect photos for posterity, but no photo collection is worth making my house unlivable.  

March 16, 2001
OK, so I don't always do what I plan.  I changed my mind at midnight and decided that perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if I kept the greenhouse door closed.  Maybe the fact that I was working all night and wouldn't be home anyway had some effect.  I came home to find that the odor was indeed confined to the greenhouse.  In the bright sun, greenhouse temperatures had rolled up to 90 at which time the exhaust fans were triggered on.  The fans had probably been on for at least 2 hours.  Despite that, when I opened the door, a blast of hot, wet deadness overcame me.  I decided there and then to stop using the cold medicine I was on.  Nasal congestion isn't always a curse.  I took a couple photos of the now open inflorescence while sweating in the dead goat fumes.  The colors are far more vibrant in the bright sunlight.  I tried two photos with flash but the inflorescence looked an unnatural pink.  Maybe suffering through this horrid smell is worthwhile after all.  Still I look forward to this bloom dying away.

Summer 2003
This year, I managed to have one bloom outdoors where the stench was less oppressive.  You can see that the bugs tolerated it better than I did.


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