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

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Somalia to Zimbabwe.


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

    General Description
    Tuber disciform to [com]pressed globose, sometimes irregularly globose, 10-25 x 5-10 cm, white to cream, changes to the records to greyish green according; several irregular, round to elliptic offsets are developed per season. LEAF emerging after the inflorescence, solitary, 40-140 cm high. Petiole 25-100 cm long; 1-4 cm in diameter; green or grey green, with spots of various sizes, these spots chestnut brown, grey purple or with reddish brown dots or a combination of all; smooth in older tubers, covered in white hairs in young tubers; covered in a brownish grey waxcoat, particularly obvious in older tubers. Blade 40-120 cm in diameter; rachis narrowly, cuneiformly ('keilförmig') and hardly winged; terminal leaflets elongate or somewhat kite-shaped ('drachenförmig'), 3.5-19 x 1.5-4.5 cm, ending in a gradually forming point, upper side dark green, under side pale green. Cataphylls 2-3, 6-23 cm long, dark pink to green; with narrow, dark red brown to lilac spots and smaller white spots; the inner one grey, purple brown with few spots. INFLORESCENCE emerging before the leaf, leaf shoots ready formed below ground. Peduncle 20-150 x 1-5 cm; dark grey brown to dark green, with a grey white wax coat, and numerous small, elongate, whitish, greenish or purple spots. Spathe 10-40 x 10-22 cm, arranged into a wide ('weitlumig'), globose to ovoid ('oval') tube and a ± broadly elliptic ('oval') to triangular, open limb by a strong constriction. Tube 5-8 x 4-6 cm, globose to [com]pressed (subsp. fisheri), globose or ovoid ('oval') (subsp. maximus); a bit broader than high; outside at the constriction dark grey brown, with black brown veins and a grey wax coat; inside basally chestnut brown to purple, with irregularly shaped warts [from the base] to half way up [the tube], these [warts] may be fused together into elongate, rib-like ledges, sometimes with small depressions. Open limb 12-33 x 8-22 cm, erect, during anthesis pressed against the appendix on one side; outside chestnut brown to purple, with raised veins; inside chestnut brown to purple, veins sunken, margin undulate. Spadix stipitate by 1-3 mm, ca. twice as long as the spathe, 20-51 cm long. Pistillate zone cylindrical to conical, 1-3.4 x 1-2.4 cm, flowers loosely dispersed. Staminate zone obconic to urceolate, 1.7-4.5 x 1.5-4 cm, flowers congested. Appendix long conical to club-shaped, 20-64 cm long, 1.8-3 cm in diameter, purple, very rough, basally slightly constricted and there often deeply furrowed; basally with small, irregular, angular structures; during the pistillate phase, with numerous, clear droplets, the liquid of which quickly crystalises; hollow inside; collapses straight after anthesis. Staminodes few, only basally as small angular elevations. Sterile zone between pistillate and staminate zone absent or 1-5 mm wide; ratio of pistillate to staminate zone 0.5-0.8(-1.1 subsp. maximus) : 1. Pistillate flowers 3-6 mm long; ovary 2-2.5 x 1.8-2 mm, somewhat [com]pressed globose (subsp. fischeri) or globose to elongate ovoid ('oval') (subsp. maximus), in cross-section circular or somewhat elliptic, bi- to tri-locular, one basal ovule-attachment per locule, pale green, apically dark brown; style 0.0-0.3 x 1.5-2 mm, dark brown; stigma 1-1.5 mm in diameter, somewhat wider than the ovary, bi- to tri-humped, broadly elliptic ('oval') from the side, angular to circular from above, stigma humps flat with a small central groove, brownish to beige. Staminate flowers with 2-5 stamens; anthers free, 1.3 x 1.5-2 mm, dark yellow, cubic to (elongate) ovoid, ± pyramid-shaped; filaments in the lower part of the staminate zone free, in the upper part laterally fused and forming a few spirals, to 0.1-1 mm long, ivory white; connective rod-shaped, greyish with a hint of purple, in the upper flowers sometimes broadened and rough - like the surface of the appendix; pores apical, one elongate to elliptic pore per theca, rarely 2 pores per theca. Pollen inaperturate, exine verrucate. Smell of rotting carcass and urine.
    Basal inner side of the spathe with wart-like to tongue-like emergences, peduncle clearly elongated.

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

    Tuber obliquely depressed (fide Engler).
    Leaf unknown (see note).
    Inflorescence appearing before leaves, subtended by silvery grey cataphylls with purplish markings.
    Peduncle 30–75 cm. long, 2–3.5 cm. in diameter at base, uniformly pale dull green, becoming glaucous towards apex, sometimes with brownish dashes (or purple spots, fide Engler).
    Spathe 19–28 cm. long or more; tube very broadly obconic, strongly constricted at apex, 6–9 cm. long, 6–9 cm. in diameter or more, outer surface dull to greyish purple with pale greenish tinge, sometimes with darker green spots, inner surface purple, densely to sparsely verruculose towards base, the projections whitish tipped; limb ovate, acuminate, margins undulate, 13–19 cm. long or more, 9–14 cm. broad, suberect, inner surface purple.
    Spadix 27–50 cm. long or more, up to almost twice spathe length; sterile appendix elongate-conic, hardly narrowed at base, narrowing gradually to 0.4 cm. in diameter near apex, inconspicuously verruculose, dull purplish green; staminate part obconic, strongly narrowed at base, 2–4.5 cm. long, 1.7–3 cm. in diameter; pistillate part 1–3 cm. long, up to 1.6 cm. in diameter, cylindric or tapering towards apex, contiguous with staminate part or separated by short naked interstice, pistils ± congested.
    Stamens free, 1.5–2 mm. broad, orange-yellow.
    Pistil 2 mm. long; ovary 2 mm. in diameter, 2-locular; ovules solitary in each locule; placentation at base of septum; stigma sessile, subglobose, shallowly 2-lobed, 2 mm. in diameter, greenish.
    Fruit unknown.
    Deciduous woodland, bushland, hill forest; 50–1500 m.
    K7 T1 T8


    Native to:

    Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe

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

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Milne-Redhead, E. [7581], Tanzania 18905.000

    First published in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 8: 157 (1901)

    Accepted by

    • 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
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Peter in Nachr. Ges. Wiss. Göttingen, Math.-Phys. Kl. 1929 (3): 194 (1930).
    • Engl. in A. Engler, Das Pflanzenreich 48 (IV. 23C): 91, fig. 33 (1911).
    • N.E. Br. in Flora of Tropical Africa 8: 157 (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

    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.

    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