Voodoo Lily - Knowledgebase Question

KS
Question by TURTLE1
December 18, 1997
A friend gave me a bulb she was unsuccessful in blooming. She called it a voodoo bulb; the bloom apparently smells horrible. I would appreciate any info you could give me on this plant.


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Answer from NGA
December 18, 1997

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What you have been given by your "friend" is Sauromatum venosum, the voodoo lily. The flower is composed of a one-foot long bract, greenish yellow with deep purple markings, that surrounds a long, blackish purple central spike. The bloom has a strong, unpleasant odor when it first opens. The tuber will bloom without planting, just place it on a windowsill. Or you can pot it up in rich potting soil, keeping the soil moist while the plant is growing, then letting it dry during dormancy.

The odor is the flower's way of attracting pollinating insects - mainly flies - and is strongest the day it open. After that, it's a curiosity that's sure to evoke comments from your visitors.

If you decide to keep your voodoo lily after itblooms, you can plant it in a container in regular potting soil and give it bright light and moderate amounts of water.

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