Exploring San Diego


Voodoo Lily, cousin of 'corpse flower,' blooms in San Diego Botanic Garden

Voodoo Lily.png
Posted at 12:36 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 17:39:34-05

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — A konjac plant that is the smaller cousin of a rare, foul-smelling "corpse flower" has bloomed at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas.

The Amorphophallus konjac, which is also known as Voodoo Lily, Devil’s Tongue, or Elephant Yam, belongs to the same genus as the Amorphophallus Titanum, or corpse flower.

Similar to the larger plant, the konjac releases a "rotting flesh" odor to attract carcass-eating insects that pollinate it. Thousands of people went to the garden in November 2021 to see the blooms of the first two corpse flowers that went viral on social media.

Corpse Flower

SDGB says staff members first saw a bloom spike, or inflorescence, emerging from the soil on Saturday. February 5. During the last ten days, the konjac plant has grown more than three feet in height. The konjac needs an ample amount of energy to produce such an exceptional bloom spike in such a short time.

"The konjac’s starchy corm is edible, and some East and Southeast Asian cuisines use it to make jelly snacks, as well as a flour for noodles and ‘yam cakes’, a misnomer, as the plant is not actually a tuber from the yam family," San Diego Botanic Garden said Wednesday.

"The cakes are commonly known in the US by their Japanese name, konnyaku, and the noodles are commonly known as shirataki. The Amorphophallus konjac is native to China’s Yunnan Province, and it is cultivated throughout the tropical and subtropical parts of China, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam for both the root vegetable food source and for traditional medicine."

The fully opened bloom lasts only a few days before it begins to fade. SDBG says visitors should plan to visit on Wednesday, Thursday, or possibly Friday if they want to experience the smell firsthand.

The San Diego Botanic Garden is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.


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