Voodoo lily a different kind of shade plant

Published on Wednesday, 6 August 2014 21:34 - Written by DEE BISHOP In Our Garden

Voodoo lily grows in the shade area of the IDEA Garden.

Now, don’t get alarmed, this lily is for those who love something a little different.

Amorphophallus rivieri “Konjac” is the variety we have. This shade-garden stand-out grows to 4 feet tall and forms only one huge tropical leaf. The olive green stem is mottled all over with deep purplish brown spots (why some call it snake palm). Looking much like a large, dark green umbrella standing there on its mottled handle, voodoo lily is a fun and I think very ornamental shade plant. If you like tropical looking plants such as bananas, palms, gingers etc., you will love voodoo lily.

In Japan the large corm-like roots are eaten, so even with a name like voodoo lily, the plant is not poisonous.

The great thing is that these plants do not grow by underground rhizomes, so they do not take over your garden. They spread by making corms that you can plant or allow to grow on their own to have more lilies.

The oddest thing happens in early spring before the leaves sprout. Flowers grow right on top of the ground and are very bizarre. They grow, as do all arums, into a large fleshy looking bract, in which is a central spadix.

If you have ever seen a Jack-in-the-pulpit bloom, you sort of know what the bloom looks like, only much larger and right on the ground. Most bizarre of all, it smells like rotten meat (yuck) but only for a short while until it is pollinated by flies, then it quickly disappears. The whole thing is really odd.

If you go to the garden, please do not pick the little gray “warts” off the leaves. They are not nearly ready for harvest, not until late fall.

Sometimes people harvest seeds, and other parts of our plants. We do not mind sharing a few, but if everyone who goes through the gardens pick flowers, harvests seeds or other plant parts (some even go so far as to take whole plants), we will not have seedlings for next year.

Do come out to enjoy all of our gardens in the Tyler Rose Garden. You will be glad you did.


Dee Bishop is a Smith County Master Gardener. She writes about plants growing within the Tyler Rose Garden.