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  1. Family: Araceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Amorphophallus Blume ex Decne.
      1. Amorphophallus abyssinicus (A.Rich.) N.E.Br.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & S. Africa.


    CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

    Basal inner side of the spathe with distinctly raised, parallel running ribs or with platform-like emergences which mimic ribs; open limb of the spathe short to elongate-broadly elliptic (‘oval’) triangular, not twisted along its length axis by 180º; Spadix usually distinctly shorter than the spathe, basal inner side of the tube with ± parallel running ribs, these in lateral view evenly high and roundish.
    General Description
    Tuber disciform, surface greyish, margins convex, 4.5-31 x 2-11 cm, often with up to 30 cm long rhizomatous offsets, or with small to longish, cylindrical daughter tubers (subsp. unyikae). LEAF emerging after the inflorescence 40-150 cm high. Blade 20-100 cm diameter, main segments divided into 3, rachis always winged acutely, cuneiformly to broad elliptically (‘spitz, keilförmig bis oval geflügelt’); in regions of highest leaflet division [rachis] broad elliptically winged (‘breit oval geflügelt’). Petiole 20-95 x 1.5-2.5 cm, reddish to geenish, with dark green or purple spots, smooth, with a whitish-grey wax cover. Terminal end leaflets lanceolate-elongate (Central Africa), broadly elliptic (‘oval’) to egg-shaped, ending in a short 0.6-1 cm long tip or with an up to 2.5 long drip tip, 4-18 x 1-8 cm, if lanceolate then 15-25 x 1-2 cm, upper side dark green, under side pale green, mid vein often distinctly raised, margin smooth. Two cataphylls, 8-41 x 2-7 and 6-25 x 1-5 cm, transparent greenish to pink background colour, with dark green-purple spots of irregular size and arrangement; the inner one longer than the peduncle. INFLORESCENCE short to moderately peduncled, solitary, very rarely two sprouting from one tuber. Peduncle (3-)6-31 cm long, 1-2.5 cm diameter (base), somewhat glossy, background dark green to brownish, with elongate brownish spots merging into groups. Spathe (9-)14-37 cm long, divided by a strong constriction into a cylindrical to conic-ovoid (‘oval’) tube and a widely triangular to roundish open limb (2-5 cm opening diameter). Open limb erect to tilted; (5-)8-27 x 7-16 cm; triangularly tapering or broad, broadly elliptic (‘oval’) to rounded; inside dark to light purple; outside greenish to purple, in part with pale greenish stripes; margin smooth or undulate. Tube 3-11 x 2-5 cm; inside immediately below the constriction with a pale, green stripe; outside greenish, purple to brownish, with a dark green-brown speckling or striation; basal inner side dark purple to red brown, from the base of the tube to the pale green stripe having ± parallel running, broad ribs of even height in lateral view and which are basally barely forked and are not interrupted. Spadix sessile, (5-)8-29 cm long, at least ¼ shorter than the spathe, or 2-4 cm shorter than the spathe (subsp. unyikae). Pistillate zone cylindrical, (1-)1.5-3.5 x (0.5-)1-3 cm, flowers congested. Staminate zone cylindrical, (1.5-)2-4 x (0.5-)1-3 cm, flowers very densely congested. Appendix ± cylindrical to short conical, (3-)6-15 cm long, purple red brown, finely wrinkled, widening in the first quarter, gradually tapering from the second quarter, and ending in a rounded tip; basally constricted; inside ± solid. Staminodes absent; sterile zone between pistillate and staminate zone absent; ratio of pistillate to staminate zone 0.5-0.8(-0.9) : 1. Pistillate flowers 3-6 mm long; ovary rotund, egg-shaped, 2.5-4 x 2.5-3.5 mm, unilocular (pseudomonomerous), incompletely bilocular, bi- to tri- (to quadri-) locular, green, basal placentation; stigma sessile, sometimes with a short style (only subsp. akeassi), 1.5-2.5 mm in diameter, reddish purple to brown, flattened globose, bi- (tri-, quadri-) humped or bi- (tri-) lobed and ochre (only subsp . akeassii ), smooth to slightly papillose; style 0.5-1.5 x 0.5-1 mm,clearly delimited from the ovary. Staminate flowers 2-3 x 1.5-2 mm; anthers free, 1-1.5 x 1.5 mm, ovoid (‘oval’), light brown to beige; filaments free or basally fused, short or 1-2(-3) mm long; pores apical, one elongate, broadly elliptic (-circular) pore visible per thecae; connective channelled, purple. INFRUCTESCENCE 30-90 cm long, solitary or with the leaf; infructescence stalk 26-85 cm long, about 2-4 times longer than during the flowering period, coloured the same as during flowering. Infructescence cylindrical, 6-12 x 2-3 cm, often with remains of the spathe. Berries 0.8-1 x 0.6-0.8 cm, 1-2(-3) seeded, egg-shaped; seeds egg-shaped to flattened egg-shaped, dark brown to black, 0.5-0.8 x 0.3-0.4 mm, smooth or somewhat rugulose due to microscopic small bands. Pollen orange, 37.5-59 x 36-58 .m, circular, egg-shaped ( subsp. akeassii) verrucate, slightly striate fossulate ( subsp. unyikae), inaperturate. Smell slightly of a mix of mould and excrements.

    Araceae, S.J. Mayo. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1985

    Tuber discoid-hemispheric, ± 10 cm. in diameter, forming short stoloniferous side shoots.
    Petiole 40–60 cm. long, maroon to brownish green with darker purplish green spots; ultimate leaf-lobes usually linear to oblanceolate and acuminate, sometimes obovate and cuspidate, 6–12 cm. long, 1–2.8 cm. broad, dark green on upper surface.
    Inflorescence appearing before leaves; peduncle 7–25 cm. long, 0.7–1.2 cm. in diameter, elongating in fruit, with similar markings to petiole.
    Spathe 16–29 cm. long; tube subcylindric to obliquely obconic, swelling upwards, distinctly constricted at apex, 4.5–7 cm. long, 2.5–4.5 cm. in diameter, outer surface greenish purple with purple lines and spots or glaucous purple, inner surface densely ridged longitudinally, blackish purple; limb broadly ovate-triangular, acute to subacute, margins undulate, 11–22 cm. long, 10–16 cm. broad, suberect, deep glossy maroon purple on inner surface with distinct glaucous blue-grey band at base.
    Spadix 8–16 cm. long, normally shorter than spathe; sterile appendix cylindric, conic or clavate, narrowed at base, apex rounded, 4–11.5 cm. long, 1.2–2.5 cm. in diameter, densely and shallowly verruculose, dull dark purple; staminate part usually cylindric, sometimes ± swollen centrally, or slightly tapered towards apex, 2.7–3.5 cm. long, 1.2–1.7 cm. in diameter; pistillate part cylindric, 1.2–3.5 cm. long, 1.2–2 cm. in diameter, contiguous with staminate part, pistils densely congested.
    Stamens free or with filaments ± connate in pairs or groups of 3, 2–3 mm. long, 1.5–2 mm. broad; connective pink to purple; pollen orange-yellow.
    Pistil ± 4 mm. long; ovary 2.5–4 mm. in diameter, green, usually 2-locular (sometimes 3–4-locular); ovules solitary in each locule; placenta at base of septum; stigma sessile, subglobose, 2–2.5 mm. broad, indistinctly 2-lobed (sometimes 3–4-lobed), grey to brownish purple.
    Berry 0.5–1 cm. in diameter, 1–2-seeded.
    Seeds ± 8 mm. in diameter.
    Deciduous woodland, grassland, marshy ground; 950–2300 m.
    K3 K5 T1 T4 T5 T7 U1 U3 U4



    Doubtfully present in:


    Native to:

    Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Caprivi Strip, Central African Repu, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Accepted Infraspecifics


    Other Data

    Amorphophallus abyssinicus (A.Rich.) N.E.Br. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Mar 24, 1983 Staph [8950], Zimbabwe K000950250 holotype
    Mar 24, 1983 Staph [8950], Zimbabwe K000950251 holotype
    Mar 24, 1983 s.coll. [s.n.] K000950249 Unknown type material
    Kenya 16858.000
    Zambia 18902.000
    Zimbabwe 21973.000
    Uganda 25724.000
    Uganda 29047.456
    Milne-Redhead, E. [2818], Zambia 16857.000
    Keay, R.W.J. [22845], Nigeria 16856.000
    Tweedie [2591], Kenya 22775.000
    Fanshawe, D.B. [493], Zambia 18244.000
    Greatrex, F.C. [34757], Zimbabwe 16859.000
    Bond, M.H., Uganda 22665.000
    Kerr [3445], Tanzania 40973.000


    First published in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 8: 160 (1901)

    Accepted by

    • Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015). The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan: 1-400. Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Thiombiano, A., Schmidt, M., Dressler, S., Ouédraogo, A., Hahn, K. & Zizka, G. (2012). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Burkina Faso Boissiera 65: 1-391.
    • Fischer, E., Rembold, K., Althof, A. & Obholzer, J. (2010). Annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Kakamega forest, Western province, Kenya Journal of East African Natural History 99: 129-226.
    • Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (eds.) (2006). Flore Analytique du Bénin: 1-1034. Backhuys Publishers.
    • Ittenbach, S. (2003). Revision der afrikanischen Arten de Gattung Amorphophallus (Araceae) Englera 25: 1-263.
    • Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 1-529. MIM, Deurne.


    CATE Araceae

    • Ittenbach, S. 2003. Revision der afrikanischen Arten der Gattung Amorphophallus (Araceae). Englera. 25: 5-263

    Kew Backbone Distributions

    • Thiombiano, A., Schmidt, M., Dressler, S., Ouédraogo, A., Hahn, K. & Zizka, G. (2012). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Burkina Faso Boissiera 65: 1-391.
    • Fischer, E., Rembold, K., Althof, A. & Obholzer, J. (2010). Annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Kakamega forest, Western province, Kenya Journal of East African Natural History 99: 129-226.

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Cribb & Leedal, Mountain Fl. S. Tanzania: 171, t. 48A (1982).
    • A.D.Q. Agnew, Upland Kenya Wild Flowers p. 701, 703 (1974).
    • Hepper in Flora of West Tropical Africa, ed. 2, 3: 118, fig. 359 (1968).
    • Verdoorn in Fl. Pl. Afr. 32(2), t. 1251 (1957).
    • Milne-Redh. in Kew Bulletin 5: 382 (1951).
    • N.E. Br. in Flora of Tropical Africa 8: 160 (1901).


    CATE Araceae
    Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    Flora of West Tropical Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.