Black Calla Lily - Knowledgebase Question

San Bernardino, CA
Avatar for MaPelikan
Question by MaPelikan
March 3, 2000
I have a plant that continues to thrive, even in the most sandy soil. The leaves resemble a Calla Lily but that is where the resemblance ceases. It comes into bloom twice a year, right now it is blooming. Only one flower appears from the cluster of bulbs if planted together. The bloom presents itself straight up andlooks like another leaf unfurling, until it begins to open.
Inside is a deep purple color. Once it is fully opened you can see a tall center spike which is definately black. I potted one and took it to my local nursery, but they were unable to tell me what it is. The stench from the flower is horrendous and I needed to drive with my car windows open to keep the overwhelming smell from making me ill. Please tell me what this could be. Also, since it is blooming right now, I will be getting pictures of it, if anyone has any information or would like to see a picture, please contact me.

Answer from NGA
March 3, 2000
What you're growing is a voodoo lily, also known as the sacred lily of India or devil's tongue.(Amorphophallus rivieri) From most accounts, it smells like you've got about a dozen pairs of wet socks in the corner and they're mildewing. In its native environment, the voodoo flowers' rotting- meat smell attracts pollinators. If you can get past the stench, the flower is quite attractive.

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