1. Family: Araceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Amorphophallus Blume ex Decne.
      1. Amorphophallus dracontioides (Engl.) N.E.Br.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is W. Tropical Africa to Central African Republic.


    CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011. araceae.e-monocot.org

    General Description
    Tuber disciform, 10-25 x 5-15 cm, yellow brown to grey on the outside, white on the inside, surface smooth or somewhat rough, roots emerge on the upper side of the tuber, produces globose offsets. LEAF to 1.2 m high, emerging after the inflorescence. Petiole 40-100 cm long, 1-2 cm in diameter, whitish below ground, above ground basally spotted purple, then becoming uniformly purple. Blade 50-100 cm in diameter; rachis narrowly, cuneiformly winged (‘schmal, keilförmig geflügelt’), distally broadly, cuneiformly winged (‘breit, keilförmig geflügelt’); terminal leaflets lanceolate, 9-30 x 0.5-3 cm, without distinct tip, green. Cataphylls 3, the inner one longer or as long as the peduncle, 10-35 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, pale-pink; the two outer shorter than the peduncle, 3-10 cm long. INFLORESCENCE short to moderately stipitate, appearing before the leaf. Peduncle 5-30 cm long, 1-2 cm in diameter, uniformly purple to green or with green spots. Spathe 10-45 cm high, broadly ovoid (‘oval’), encloses the spadix entirely and overtops it like a hood (‘mützenförmig’), with an opening half way up on one side, which is overlapped apically by an open part of the limb. [The spathe] is thus nearly closed, without constriction, basally 3-8 cm wide, in the middle 7-15 cm wide. Outside greenish, mottled whitish to cream, with greenish irregular spots, often with light-purple flush in the marginal zones, with cream or purple-green spots. Inside basally smooth; dark-purple; with narrow, irregular, white to cream, longitudinal stipes. These gradually dissipate towards the open limb. Spadix stipitate by 1-1.5 cm, much shorter than the spathe, 5-17 cm long. Pistillate zone obconical, 1-2 x 1-2 cm, flowers congested. Staminate zone obconical, 1.5-3.5 x 1-4 cm, flowers very densely congested. Appendix 4-11 cm long, 2-5 cm in diameter, plumply and shorty club-shaped, surface entirely rugulose; [surface] in the wide (‘weitlumig’) upper part has dense rows of small, circular to broadly elliptic (‘oval’) humps or wrinkles, at the base the humps gradually turn into flat elongate elevations and end at the base in a 1-3 cm wide zone of papillate staminodes. Staminodes basal, or extending to half way up as irregularly shaped papillae and sterile anthers. Sterile zone between the pistillate and staminate zone absent.; ratio of pistillate to staminate zone 0.5-0.7 : 1. Pistillate flowers 4-6(-7) mm long; ovary ovoid, 2-3 x 1.5-2 mm, unilocular, green. Style 2-3(-4) mm long, clearly delimited from the ovary (‘deutlich abgesetzt vom Ovar’), slightly arched upwards towards the axis (‘etwas zur Achse hin aufwärts gebogen’), cream to green-yellow. Stigma small, 0.8-0.9 mm in diameter, in lateral view shaped like a jelly bag cap or flattened on one side, circular seen from above, unlobed, cream to yellowish. Staminate flowers 1-2 mm long, 3-4 stamens form one flower; anthers free, 1-1.5 x 1-1.5 mm, quadrangular to rectangular, cream to purple; filaments free, 0.5-1 mm long and broad; pores apical, circular, 2 pores per theca; thecae cylindrical; connective channelled and purple. Pollen yellow, inaperturate, 28-38 x 28-31 circular; exine echinate. INFRUCTESCENCE often appearing with the leaf, cylindrical, 10-20 x 3-4 cm, sometimes with remains of the spathe. Berries single seeded, elongate to ovoid, 1-1.5 x 0.8 cm, orange to red. Seeds rough, elongate to ovoid, 0.8-1.2 x 0.5 cm, pale. Smells of rotting carcass and excrement.
    Flowers from December to the end of February. Fruit maturity from February to March. Leaf present from March till July.
    Style present, spadix entirely enclosed by the spathe , appendix wide broadly elliptic (‘oval’), with distinct staminodes.
    Subtropical savanna, dry savanna and tree savanna. In savannas often occuring with Mitragyna inermis and Acacia sieberiana. In tree savannas often occuring with Isoberlinia doka. In Nigeria also found on an Inselberg. The smell is reminiscent of rotting carcass and excrement; thus attracting flies especially.
    In the Guineo-Congolese region into the Guineo-Congolese-Sudanese transition zone: from the Ivory Coast to the Central African Republic Material from Cameroon and Burkina Faso is not known; however, it is probable that the species occurs in these countries.

    Araceae, F. N. Hepper. Flora of West Tropical Africa 3:1. 1968

    Tuber "the size of a child's head", flattened above
    Inflorescence almost sessile or with a peduncle over 1 ft. high
    Spathe about 1 ft. long, hooded, pale outside, reddish-purple with yellowish streaks inside
    In savanna.
    The tubers are edible, but are only used in times of greatest need. However, a special treatment is important to remove the strong taste from the tuber. They are chopped, then washed, soaked and cooked for one or two days (Burkill 1985, Dalziel 1937).In Northern Nigeria, the tubers are used as component for arrow poison together with the tuber of Solanum incanum. For this purpose, the tubers are always cooked (Burkill 1985, Neuwinger 1996).The tubers of A. dracontioides are a valuable remedy for astmatic illnesses. It may also be this species that is used for the relief of rheumatic complaints. The Fula use the tubers in magical medicine rituals in the event of snake bites. In Southern Nigeria, the women eat the tubers during pregnancy to make the delivery easier (Burkill 1985, Dalziel 1937). In Niger, the tuber is used for medicinal purposes (Berthoud in sched.).



    Native to:

    Benin, Burkina, Central African Repu, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria, Togo

    Amorphophallus dracontioides (Engl.) N.E.Br. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Feb 5, 1996 Morton, J.K. [A 798], Ghana K000499381
    Sep 7, 1995 Keith Virgo [81], Niger K000499380
    Nigeria 21971.000

    First published in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 8: 148 (1901)

    Accepted by

    • 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.
    • Jones, M. (1991). A checklist of Gambian plants: 1-33. Michael Jones, The Gambia College.


    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • Morton, W. Afr. Lilies & Orch. fig. 49.
    • Chev. Bot, 680
    • Engl. Pflanzenr. 4, 23C: 67, fig. 24, F-L (1911)
    • in F.T.A. 8: 148 (1901)
    CATE Araceae
    • Ittenbach, S. 2003. Revision der afrikanischen Arten der Gattung Amorphophallus (Araceae). Englera. 25: 5-263
    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Ittenbach, S. (2003). Revision der afrikanischen Arten de Gattung Amorphophallus (Araceae) Englera 25: 1-263.
    • Jones, M. (1991). A checklist of Gambian plants: 1-33. Michael Jones, The Gambia College.


    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 West Tropical Africa
    Flora of West Tropical Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0