Amorphophallus konjac is native to subtropical South Eas Asia. It is a member of the Araceae family and displays the floral structure typical of aroids. The flowers are borne on the central inflorescence called a spadix. The spadix is then surrounded by a bract-like structure called a spathe. As you look closer you will notice that the male and female flowers are seperated on the spadix, with the dark male flowers located above the fuschia female flowers. The flower is pollinated by flys and beetles so it emitts a very pungant rotting-meat scent when fully open that lasts for only a couple of days. The energy to develope this giant (about 5' tall) inflorescence all comes from the corm located at the bottom of the pedicle. The corm won't start producing roots until the flower has senesced and a large singular leaf emerges. Then and only then will the energy start producing its own energy again and working to regrow its carbohydrate reserves for next year's flower.
Taccarum weddelianum is another aroid, though less frequently seen or sold in the trade. It is native to The northern parts of South America, and unlike Amorphophallus species, the leaf and the flower exist at the same time on the plant. If you compare the flowers of the Amorphophallus konjac and the Taccarum weddelianum, you will see similarities in the flower structure (the spathe and the spadix) but they ultimately look very different. The spathe is paper-thin and stays very close to the ground - there is no noticable peduncle - and the sapdix emerges above, largely unprotected. Another nice trait of the Taccarum weddelianum is that it doesn't smell like rotting meat.
The spring of 2018 saw the first blooming of Anchomanes difformis in our greenhouse. This unusual aroid is native to Tropical Western Africa and has been growing in the greenhouse since 2015 when it was gifted to the University of Pennsylvania as part of an aroid collection from Ohio University. The leaves of A. difformis are often highly-divided, though leaves can also vary drastically – as seen in the photo - and the petiole is covered in small prickles. The leaves and the inflorescence all emerge from a large underground horizontal tuber that, in the wild, can grow to be over 2 feet long and 7 inches in diameter.
This plant was originally received as Anchomanes hookeri, which is now an accepted synonym of Anchomanes difformis.