Botanical Name: Amorphophallus rivieri
Subfamily: Aroideaen f
Synonyms : Conophallus konjak.
Common Names: Devil’s Tongue, Umbrella Arum, Leopard Palm, Snake Palm
Habitat: Amorphophallus rivieri is native to E. Asia – Cochin China, East Indies. Loose leafy detritus in moist shady habitats. It grows in forest margins and thickets at elevations of 830-1200 metres in western Yunnan.
Amorphophallus rivieri is a tuberous herbaceous perennial plant growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 0.6 m (2ft). It is foul-smelling somewhat fleshy tropical plant of southeastern Asia cultivated for its edible corms or in the greenhouse for its large leaves and showy dark red spathe surrounding a large spadix.
It is frost tender. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Flies.
Bloom Color: Pink. Main Bloom Time: Late spring. Form: Irregular or sprawling.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Landscape Uses:Border, Container. Requires shade and a rich soil in its native habitats, but it probably requires a position with at least moderate sun in Britain. This species is being increasingly cultivated for its edible tubers in Japan and Chin The plants are not winter hardy outdoors in Britain but are sometimes grown outdoors in this country as part of a sub-tropical bedding display. It is also said to make a good house plant. The tuber is harvested in the autumn after top growth has been cut back by frost and it must be kept quite dry and frost-free over winter. It is then potted up in a warm greenhouse in spring ready to be planted out after the last expected frosts. The tubers are planted 15cm deep. The plant has one enormous leaf and one spadix annually. It requires hand pollination in Britain. When ripe for pollination, the flowers have a foetid smell to attract carrion flies and midges. This smell disappears once the flower has been pollinated. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant flowers, Flowers have an unpleasant odor.
Seed – best sown in a pot in a warm greenhouse as soon as it is ripe and the pot sealed in a plastic bag to retain moisture. It usually germinates in 1 – 8 months at 24°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least a couple of years. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away strongly. Division of offsets. These are rarely produced
Rhizome – cooked. The root must be thoroughly boiled or baked, it is acrid when raw. Very large, it can be up to 30cm in iameter. In Japan the large brown tubers are peeled, cooked and pounded to extract their starch, which is solidified with dissolved limestone into an edible gel called ‘Konnyaku’. Konnyaku is a type of flour valued for its use in many dietary products. The flour is valued for its ability to clean the digestive tract without being a laxative. A nutritional analysis is available. This root is very high in water and low in calories, so it is being promoted as a diet food in N. America.
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
•308 Calories per 100g
•Water : 0%
•Protein: 3.8g; Fat: 0g; Carbohydrate: 88.5g; Fibre: 3.8g; Ash: 7.7g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 654mg; Phosphorus: 269mg; Iron: 11.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
Medicinal Uses: The root is oxytoxic and sialagogue. It is used in the treatment of cancer. The flowers are febrifuge.
Other Uses : The plant has insecticidal properties.
Known Hazards: We have one report that this plant is very toxic raw, though no more details are given. It belongs to a family where most of the members contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if hundreds of small needles are digging in to them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.