Voodoo Lily Vibes

Amorphophallus konjac

The best word to describe this unusual plant is “weird.” Voodoo lilies are also called snake plants and have large, divided leaves borne atop long, mottled stems (technically petioles). The fleshy colored blooms or inflorescences consist of a long cylindrical, central stalk called a spadix and a colorful, enveloping bract called a spathe. At sunrise and sunset, the inflorescences smell like rotting flesh or a dirty diaper.

The odor attracts flies, which assist with pollination. Voodoo lilies can reach six feet tall during the warmer summer months, but begin to decline with cooler, fall weather. A large, underground bulb-like portion, called a corm, survives the cooler weather and pushes up the inflorescence and new leaves each spring.

As the lily blooms, the spathe unfolds and you begin to see flies and notice the bad smell.

Voodoo lilies are available from online sources and should be planted in part shade, in well-drained soils rich in organic matter. These plants can also be grown containers.

Visitors can see the Voodoo lily in bloom, usually in mid-May, along the mulched path below the tower.