Thursday, April 05, 2012

Sauromatum venosum

I am fascinated by a group of plants known as the aroids. You may recall that I have blogged the flowers of Amorphophallus konjac which grows in Japan. This week I have a specimen of Sauromatum venosum that bloomed. Sauromatum grows in India. In the photo above the stalk is increasing in length at an amazing rate.

This tropical-looking aroid is a relative of arisaemas. In the spring, the peculiar inflorescence (flower head) is the first sign of's just life from another planet. The Sauromatum flower stalk is 3' tall and only 1" wide. As it unfurls, the inside is patterned with a rich violet and yellow...the ultimate in weird! A month later, a giant hand-shaped leaf, to 2' across, emerges from the bulb on a very mottled, green and black stem.

After flowering, a unique seed head (resembling a 2" round alien space object) forms at the base of the leaf.

Here is the blossom before it does its unique unfurling act.

In the time span of an hour, the flower does a gymnastic routine and it is a great show.

Once it has completed unfurling, the patterned outer fold drops and the stench begins! Yes, smells horrible. Tomorrow - THE SMELL!


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