Devil's Tongue flower comes to life in continuing five-year cycle

Aug 29, 2014 by Andrew Baulcomb
Biology Greenhouse technician Arthur Yeas measures the imposing Devil's Tongue on Thursday morning. The plant currently measures 58 inches. 

A rare plant at the McMaster Biology Greenhouse is finally showing its true colours (and odours), and may not bloom for another five years.

The towering Devil's Tongue, also known as a Voodoo Lily or Amorphophallus konjac, is native to tropical Indonesia and has the dubious distinction of being one of the smelliest on earth.

The flowering at McMaster was a remarkable surprise.

"I was told by someone a plant flowered at the Royal Botanical Gardens many years ago, but I can find no record of it blooming at the RBG. Our plant may not bloom for another five years or so," said greenhouse technician Arthur Yeas.

"I do not believe exceptionally large specimens of this plant are common in our part of the world. Our flower is growing from a corm weighing 10 pounds, and the bud was growing six-eight inches every day."

Despite its pungent corpse-like aroma, the Devil's Tongue has been used in food and medicine for more than 1,500 years.

The Japanese make a popular dish from the plant known as konnyaku. Those who eat the dish are said to be devouring the devil's tongue.

'I do not believe exceptionally large specimens of this plant are common in our part of the world. Our flower is growing from a corm weighing 10 pounds, and the bud was growing six-eight inches every day,' said greenhouse technician Arthur Yeas. Far right: the Devil's Tongue flower on Thursday morning, now fully bloomed. - See more at: http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/article/el-diablo-devils-tongue-flower-comes-to-life-in-biology-greenhouse/#sthash.6MpAN2Dp.dpuf

In medical circles, it is an important ingredient in weight loss products such as Lipozene and PGX Daily. Studies show it can reduce bad cholesterol and raise in the blood. It can also stabilize , and may play a role in managing diabetes.

Explore further: Botanical garden readies for rare, spectacular puya raimondii flowering

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smelly monster 'corpse' flower in bloom in Brussels

Jul 08, 2013

A Titan Arum, one of the world's largest, rarest and smelliest flowers, is in bloom in a Brussels hothouse for the third time in five years in a rare botanical feat for a plant that generally goes years without ...

Botanical Garden braces for blooming corpse plant

Jun 21, 2010

The University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley, nestled in Strawberry Canyon just above the central campus, features a mind-boggling 12,000 kinds of plants and breathtaking views of the Bay Area. ...

Stinky corpse flower blooms in Washington

Jul 22, 2013

A towering plant that smells like rotting meat and is native to the Indonesian rainforest is in full bloom in the US capital, drawing throngs of tourists, officials said Monday.

Recommended for you

Research helps steer mites from bees

Sep 19, 2014

A Simon Fraser University chemistry professor has found a way to sway mites from their damaging effects on bees that care and feed the all-important queen bee.

Bird brains more precise than humans'

Sep 19, 2014

(Phys.org) —Birds have been found to display superior judgement of their body width compared to humans, in research to help design autonomous aircraft navigation systems.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dr_d_a_galbraith
5 / 5 (3) Aug 29, 2014
It was a great pleasure to see the Amorphophallus konjac in bloom yesterday at McMaster University! A beautiful specimen. If you are in the area I strongly recommend a visit.

At Royal Botanical Gardens (McMaster's next-door neighbor, in Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario) our Devil's Tongue specimen bloomed in late February 2013.

David A. Galbraith, Ph.D.
Head of Science, Royal Botanical Gardens
Iochroma
1 / 5 (1) Sep 04, 2014
There is nothing unusual about a blooming plant of this species. I've had flowers over 7 ft. tall, from tubers over 14 lbs., which is still not unusual. And A. konjac is not a particularly smelly species.
This article is about a non-event.