Learn how and when to remove this template message These are typical lowland plants, growing in the tropical and subtropical zones of the paleotropics , from West Africa to the Pacific Islands. None of them are found in the Americas although a remarkably similar but not closely related genus, Dracontium , has evolved there. Most species are endemic. They grow preferentially on disturbed grounds, such as secondary forests. Description[ edit ] Amorphophallus paeoniifolius , the elephant foot yam, a species cultivated in the tropical Indo-Pacific for their edible corms These small to massive plants grow from a subterranean tuber.

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They superficially resemble a small palm tree. The petiole of the leaf is mottled with an attractive pattern of light green splotches. The surface of the petiole is pebbly and resembles lizard skin.

The inflorescence which emerges in the Spring, once every two to five years, is very large. The tip of the spadix is reddish-purple, bulbous, and folded, giving the impression of a brain. The leaf is grown using carbohydrates stored in the tuber. The tuber is completely used up in this process. During the growing season, a new tuber begins to form below the plant, storing resources obtained by the leaf and roots for use in growing the leaf or inflorescence in the following Spring.

For larger plants, the tubers can be up to twenty pounds. This plant prefers humid conditions. It goes dormant in Winter. The tubers can be dug up and Wintered in a paper bag, anywhere in the USA.

Light Part sun to shade. Water Keep them evenly hydrated while they are growing, but allow them to dry out completely while they are dormant. If they are too wet while they are dormant they can rot. Fertilizer It is important to supply them with phosphorus. Phosphorus is what allows them to grow a larger tuber. Since they grow a new tuber each year, this is largely what determines the size of the plant in the following year. Cultivation Plant the tuber in very rich, well draining soil.

Give them a good amount of root space. Plant it in the pot it will be in for the whole season. You should not transplant them while they are growing. If the leaf petiole is broken or badly damaged during transplantation it will often cause them to die.


Amorphophallus paeoniifolius


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