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Amorphophallus konjac

Amorphophallus konjac

Common name elephant yam; umbrella arum
Family araceae
Life cycle perennial (Z6-10)
Size to 5'
Light part-full shade

I received a tuber for this plant in a generous trade last fall. Stored in mulch through late winter, then potted into potting soil in late spring, it never showed a sign of life - so I just set its pot outside. It wasn't until mid-July that my patience was rewarded: first a spike of growth emerged from the soil, not unlike an asparagus shoot (although a comparison to fellow aroids jack-in-the-pulpits would be more appropriate). At that stage, I gave it a place in a semi-shady area of our side garden, and forgot to look for a week or two. When I finally did, I was surprised to see how it had evolved, into a little palm of attractively two-toned leaflets. It will probably be a few years before we will see its striking purple inflorescence (if indeed it survives in our garden); in the meantime, I'll be happy just to observe its progress and habits.

This plant used to grow in our garden, but it slipped away...

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