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Copyright © Tom Walters

Copyright © Tom Walters


Typhonium venosum (= Sauromatum venosum)

Voodoo Lily

A small aroid, native to woodlands and pastures between 1300 and 2000 m (4400 and 6700 ft.) from tropical Africa through the Himalayas to western China. In spring, from an underground tuber, it forms a slender, reddish brown "flower", actually an inflorescence, that attracts flies and other insects with a foul smell and traps them with a well thought-out mechanism inside the spathe. Only once pollination has been completed, the insects are released after a thorough drenching in pollen to fly off and become trapped by the next voodoo lily. After flowering, usually only a single, large, broadly palmate leaf is formed. In winter, after the leaf has wilted, the plant hibernates with its underground tuber. It is easy to keep in the warm temperate garden. In cold climates, the tuber can be brought inside and stored in a cool and barely damp place.

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germination comments by our visitors
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Seeds from this species ...

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of high ornamental value
In Near Brussels - USDA zone 8a in Belgium they need very little care and grow very fast.
The beauty of the plant resides more in the foliage than in the flowers (which last just 1 or 2 days, yet are very 'special')I grow these plants in large pots. It takes 2 to 3 year to raise a plant from seed untill flowering size. All you need to do is after the first year plant the small bulbs widely spaced in large pots (4 bulbs in a 28 cm diameter pot) filled with standard potting mix. I usually start growth early may by placing the pots outdoors in a sunny location. Just start watering the plants and fertilize them with a classic garden NPK fertilizer (a + if it contains some magnesium). After a few weeks the plants will start making their inflorescence, once the flowers have faded they wll start leaf growth (june). Each bulb will make a first leave, eventually followed by a second or third leave. Watch out, these leaves grow big (60 cm diameter is not uncommon) ! Consequently the plants need a lot of water. In September (so the plant has short growing period) when the leaves start to loose colour and die off, stop watering, cut the leaves just above ground level and store the pots in a cool but frost free environment (I do it in my cellar) where you will keep then absolutely dry untill next year May. After a few years your pots will be crowded with bulbs since these plants produce masses of bulbills when they grow in a favourable location. You can also try to grow these outdoors. They will not be as strong as pot grown specimens and not propagate themselve as heavilly (that is perhaps an advantage of growing these outdoors). I have one plant that 'escaped' from my pots, now growing in the garden and it resisted to last winter's -18°C, which is a good testimonial on their hardyness in climate zone 8a !
Submitted on 30/07/2009 by François Lambert

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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