About two hundred species of tuberous plants belong to the genus amorphophallus, widespread in Africa and Asia, particularly in tropical or subtropical areas. The tubers are generally large, round or elongated in shape; in spring a short squat stem rises from the tuber, bearing a long spadix in the shape of a cone or spear, which can have various sizes, from 40-50 cm, up to three meters of the Amorphophallus titanum; one or more spathe surround the spadix; the spadix can be yellow, green, pink or purplish, and bears both female and male flowers, as well as small sterile flowers. The spathe are greenish, purplish or orange in color, have a velvety and moist appearance and are furrowed with numerous veins. The flowers of amorphophallo give off a disgusting smell, similar to that of rotting flesh, which attracts flies and other pollinating insects.
After flowering, a single large leaf is produced from the stem, reminiscent of palm fronds: the leaf withers in autumn, when the plant enters vegetative rest. Amorphophallus titanum produces the largest inflorescence in the world, and has produced its large flowers in cultivated specimens as well. In their places of origin, amorphophallo tubers are used for food, cooked. The tubers are also used in medicine and herbal medicine, from them glucomannan is extracted, a dietary fiber used in cases of dyspepsia or obesity.
A particular mention deserves the Amorphophallus konjac, a plant cultivated in Asia and in particular in Japan, China and Korea, from which a food gelatin is obtained which is widely used in the Asian world but not only.
The Amorphophallus prefers semi-shady positions, in a place sheltered from the wind. Generally they fear the cold, but can also be grown outdoors in places with mild winters and low rainfall during the cold season.
start watering as soon as the tuber shows the first shoots, watering should be given only when the soil is dry, avoiding excesses. When the leaf is produced, provide fertilizer for plants you see, every 10-15 days, mixed with the watering water. When the leaf fades it is best to avoid watering until the following spring. During the cold months it is possible to dig up the tuber and keep it in a dry, temperate and oxen place, until the following spring.
These plants prefer very rich and soft soils, consisting of peat, mature manure and little sand, to increase drainage. They can be cultivated in pots, providing a container that has a diameter equal to three times that of the tuber; after flowering, compact the soil around the tuber; remember to repot the plants grown in pots every 2-3 years
The multiplication of Amorphophallus can usually take place by seed, or by division of the tubers.
Amorphophallus: Parasites and diseases
often some species of moths choose amorphophallo tubers to lay their eggs, the larvae will use the pulp of the tubers to eat them. Excessive watering can favor the development of tuber rot.