Amorphophallus Blume ex Decne.
  • Nouv. Ann. Mus. Hist. Nat. 3: 366 (1834) 

Notes: , nom. cons. Distribution: Trop. & S. Africa to Pacific

General Description

Medium-sized to very large acaulescent herbs, seasonally dying back and dormant; stem a usually subglobose tuber. Leaf normally solitary subtended by several basal cataphylls; petiole erect, cylindric, not pulvinate apically, usually smooth, rarely verrucose (A. paeoniifolius), often conspicuously spotted; blade widely spreading, in outline forming a shallow inverted cone, tripartite, each major segment highly divided subpinnately or ± irregularly; ultimate lobes linear to broadly elliptic or ovate, with acuminate tips and broadly decurrent bases; venation of the ultimate lobes penniform, forming inframarginal veins on each side. Inflorescence normally produced before (more rarely with) appearance of leaves; peduncle normally shorter than petiole. Spathe usually with convolute basal portion forming cylindric to bowl-shaped tube, upper portion usually ± expanded, much broader, often with undulate margins. Spadix with basal pistillate portion contiguous with central staminate portion or separated by a short naked interstice, apical portion a variously shaped, sterile, ± smooth (rarely rugose or staminodial), terminal appendix, spongy fibrous within. Flowers unisexual, without perigon. Stamens usually densely congested, in groups of up to 6 (rarely more), sometimes connate basally; anthers usually sessile, more rarely with distinct filaments, dehiscing by apical pores (rarely by transverse slits); connective usually thick. Pistils usually densely congested, sometimes ± distant; ovary 1–4-locular; ovules 1 per locule on basal to axile placentas; style often elongated, sometimes lacking; stigma subglobose or variously lobed, often brightly coloured. Berries borne in ± cylindrical infructescence, 1–several-seeded. Seeds smooth, lacking endosperm.

HABIT : seasonally dormant (sometimes irregularly so) or rarely semi-evergreen herbs, often large, sometimes gigantic, tuber usually depressed-globose, sometimes irregularly ± elongate-cylindric, napiform or carrot-shaped, rarely rhizomatous or stoloniferous. LEAVES : usually solitary (rarely 2-3) in adult plants, sometimes 2-3 in seedlings. PETIOLE : long, usually smooth, rarely verrucose to asperate, sometimes very thick, usually conspicuously spotted and marked in a variety of patterns, sheath very short. BLADE : trisect, primary divisions pinnatisect, bipinnatisect or dichotomously further divided, tubercles rarely present at junction of divisions, secondary and tertiary divisions ± regularly pinnatifid to pinnatisect, ultimate lobes oblong-elliptic to linear, acuminate, decurrent, rarely petiolulate; primary lateral veins of ultimate lobes pinnate, forming distinct submarginal collective vein, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : always solitary, preceded by cataphylls, usually flowering without leaves, rarely with the leaves. PEDUNCLE : very short to long, similar to petiole. SPATHE : variously coloured, marcescent and finally deciduous, boat-shaped and not or hardly convolute, or clearly differentiated into tube and blade, sometimes constricted between them; tube convolute, rarely connate (A. pusillus, A. elliotii), campanulate to cylindric or ventricose, inner surface smooth, longitudinally ribbed, near base verruculose, scabrate or densely covered with scale- or hair-like processes or smooth; blade erect to spreading, smooth, ribbed or variously undulate or frilled at margins. SPADIX : shorter or much longer than spathe; female zone shorter, equalling or longer than male zone; male zone cylindric, ellipsoid, conoid or obconoid, usually contiguous with female, sometimes separated by a sterile zone which may be naked, or bear prismatic, subglobose or hair-like sterile flowers; terminal appendix usually present, rarely absent or reduced to stub, erect, sometimes horizontal, rarely pendent, very variable in shape, usually ± conoid or cylindric, rarely ± globose, sometimes ± stipitate or basally narrowed, usually smooth or bearing staminode-like structures near base or entirely covered with staminodes, sometimes corrugate or densely to sparsely hirsute, or grossly and irregularly crumpled. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigone absent. MALE FLOWER : 1-6-androus, stamens free or sometimes connate in basal flowers or throughout male zone, short, filaments absent or distinct, connective fairly thick, sometimes projecting beyond thecae, thecae obovoid or oblong, opposite, dehiscing apically by an apical (rarely lateral) pore or transverse slit. POLLEN : extruded in strands, inaperturate, mostly ellipsoid to ellipsoid-oblong, occasionally spherical or subsphaeroidal, medium-sized to large (mean 53 µm., range 34-82 µm.), exine striate, striate-reticulate, psilate, punctate-foveolate, verrucate, or spinose. FEMALE FLOWER : gynoecia usually crowded, sometimes ± distant, ovary subglobose to ovoid or obovoid, 1-4-locular, ovules 1 per locule, anatropous, funicle very short to distinct, erect, placenta axile to basal, style absent, short or very long, conoid to cylindric, stigma variably shaped, entire and subglobose or 2-4-lobed, stellate or rarely punctiform, sometimes large and brightly coloured. BERRY : sometimes very large, 1 to few-seeded, orange to red, rarely blue or white, infructescence ± cylindric. SEED : ellipsoid, testa smooth, thin, embryo large, somewhat green superficially, endosperm absent.

Diagnostic Description

Seasonally dormant; petiole long, terete, variously spotted or patterned; leaf blade dracontioid, leaf solitary in each growth period; ultimate leaf lobes usually oblong-elliptic, acuminate, with primary lateral veins forming regular submarginal collective vein on each side. Differs from Pseudodracontium in having a 1-4 locular ovary, a terminal appendix which is smooth, rugose, or rarely verrucose or staminodial but not stipitate (Pseudodracontium always has a 1-locular ovary and a staminodial terminal appendix which is separated from the male zone by a naked axial region).


Tropical humid forest, seasonal forest, open woodlands; geophytes, sometimes in humus deposits on rocks (limestone), also in waste places or areas of human habitation (e.g. A. paeoniifolius).


Trop. & S. Africa to Pacific


The tubers of A. paeoniifolius and A. konjac are widely used sources of carbohydrate foods in tropical Asia and Japan respectively.


in Nouv. Ann. Mus. Hist. Nat. 3: 366 (1834); N. E. Br. in F.T.A. 8: 144 (1901); Engl. in E. P. 48 (IV. 23C): 61 (1911), nom. conserv.

Herb. Timor 38 (1835); F.T.A. 8: 144; Engl., Pflanzenr. 4, 23C: 16 (1911). Nom. cons.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Northeast Tropical Africa Chad
  • Ethiopia
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • South Tropical Africa Angola
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Southern Africa Caprivi Strip
  • West Tropical Africa Benin
  • Burkina
  • Gambia, The
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Burundi
  • Cabinda
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Congo
  • Gabon
  • Gulf of Guinea Is.
  • Zaire
  • Western Indian Ocean Madagascar
  • Asia-Temperate China China North-Central
  • China South-Central
  • China Southeast
  • Hainan
  • Tibet
  • Eastern Asia Japan
  • Taiwan
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Assam
  • Bangladesh
  • East Himalaya
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
  • Indo-China Andaman Is.
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Nicobar Is.
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Malesia Borneo
  • Jawa
  • Lesser Sunda Is.
  • Malaya
  • Maluku
  • Philippines
  • Sulawesi
  • Sumatera
  • Papuasia New Guinea
  • Australasia Australia Northern Territory
  • Queensland
  • Western Australia
  • Pacific South-Central Pacific Society Is.
  • Southwestern Pacific Fiji
  • Samoa
Introduced into
  • Africa Western Indian Ocean Seychelles
  • Asia-Temperate Eastern Asia Nansei-shoto

Included Species


  • 1 Boyce, P.C., Ipor, I.B. & Hetterscheid, W.L.A. (2010). A review of the white-flowered Amorphophallus (Araceae: Thomsonieae) species in Sarawak. Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 61: 249-268.
  • 2 Yuzammi (2009). The genus Amorphophallus Blume ex Decaisne (Araceae - Thomsonieae) in Java. Reinwardtia 13: 1-12.
  • 3 Ittenbach, S. (2003). Revision der afrikanischen Arten de Gattung Amorphophallus (Araceae). Englera 25: 1-263.
  • 4 Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 5 Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 1-529. MIM, Deurne.
  • 6 S.J. Mayo (1985) Araceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa
  • 7 F.n. Hepper (1968) Araceae. Flora of West Tropical Africa 3(1)
  • 8 Magtoto, L.M. et al. Amorphophallus adamsensis (Araceae), a new species from Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Blumea; Tijdschrift voor de Systematiek en de Geografie der Planten (A Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Plant Geography). Leiden 58, 270 (2013).
  • 9 V. Jaleel, A., Sivadasan, M., Alfarhan, A.H., Thomas, J. & Alatar, A.A. A TAXONOMIC REVISION OF AMORPHOPHALLUS BLUME EX DECNE. SECT. CONOPHALLUS (SCHOTT) ENGL. (ARACEAE) IN INDIA. Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy 19, 153 (2012).
  • 10 Gardens, K.""Royal Bot World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. (2008).
  • 11 Mayo, S.J., Bogner, J. & Boyce, P.C. The Genera of Araceae. (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: 1997).
  • 12 Hetterscheid, W. & Claudel, C. A new miniature Amorphophallus (Araceae) from Eastern Thailand. Aroideana; Journal of the International Aroid Society 35, 50 (2012).
  • 13 Hetterscheid, W. & Claudel, C. Three New Species of Amorphophallus (Araceae) from Indochina. Aroideana; Journal of the International Aroid Society 36, 92 (2013).
  • 14 Hetterscheid, W.L.A. & Claudel, C. The End of Pseudodracontium N.E. Br. Aroideana; Journal of the International Aroid Society 35, 46 (2012).

 Information From

CATE Araceae
Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 14 Dec 2011 . 17 Dec 2011.
  • A All Rights Reserved
  • B
Flora of West Tropical Aftrica (FWTA)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2004. eFloras: Iridaceae. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2013-08-02]
  • C All Rights Reserved
  • D
Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2004. eFloras: Iridaceae. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2013-08-02]
  • E All Rights Reserved
  • F
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • G All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • H Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
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