Growth spurt: Resident shares voodoo lily’s first bloom

Published 1:50 pm Thursday, April 7, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

It’s a plant that Morticia of the Addams Family would likely enjoy owning, and Chilton County resident Bob Groves is enjoying watching his amorphophallus konjac finally bloom.

Commonly called a voodoo lily, the amorphophallus konjac blooms once every five to seven years.

The flower looks black, but on closer inspection is shades of really dark purple and possibly reds.

“This is the first year that this one has bloomed,” Groves said. “I have five others at the house. One of them bloomed last year.”

Groves received his first voodoo lily from a friend in exchange for a rain barrel.

The interior of the amorphophallus konjac plant. JOYANNA LOVE | MANAGING EDITOR)

“She mentioned them and I said I would like to have one,” Groves said. “… It’s a pretty unique plant.”

From that initial plant, Groves took corns and put them in soil for them to grow into separate plants.

The plants can get up to 48 inches tall and have a stalk that is 2 inches wide. Groves said once the plant blooms it grows rapidly.

These flowers are not the variety one would stop and smell to enjoy a pleasant aroma.

“For a couple of days, it will smell like rotten meat,” Groves said. “The reason for that is so it attracts insects (mostly flies and ants) to pollinate it, and the seed will form down there (in the flower).”

Once the plant starts to grow a stalk, the plant does not need water or soil.

“After the flower dies, then about a month or two months later this (the stalk) will die all the way down and not too much later there is going to be another stem that comes up and it is called the leaf,” Groves said.

The leaf grows and fans out like an umbrella, Groves said.

Parts of the root system have been used in weight loss supplements. The plant is native to tropical areas of Asia.

Groves moved to Chiton County seven years ago. When his amorphophallus konjac bloomed this week, he brought it to Senior Connection to show his friends there.

It will remain on display for a while, so everyone can see it grow — unless the smell requires that it be moved outside.