According to Flora of Tropical East Africa[FTEA]
- Tuber depressed-globose, 4–10 cm. in diameter.
- Petiole terete, up to 90 cm. long, green, often black-purple spotted or tinged brownish purple; blade kidney-shaped to subcircular in outline, 25–60 cm. broad, pedately-lobed; lobes 7–11, ovate-elliptic, acuminate, cuneate, deeply divided almost to base; central lobe usually obovate-elliptic, 12–30 cm. long, 5–16 cm. broad; lateral lobes progressively smaller.
- Inflorescence appearing before leaves, with very strong carrion smell at anthesis, subtended by several oblong-lanceolate cataphylls; peduncle short, 2–8 cm. when in flower, subterranean, spathe borne at or partly below ground-level.
- Spathe 25–50 cm. long; tube subcylindric with inflated ellipsoid basal part, 5–10 cm. long, 2–5 cm. in diameter, erect, outside dull purplish green, inside reddish purple, smooth; limb narrowly lanceolate-triangular, 20–40 cm. long, 3–9 cm. broad, reflexing and twisting spirally at maturity, inner surface pale yellow to pale green with numerous dark maroon-purple oblong to subcircular spots that are smaller towards base and merge near crisped-undulate margins.
- Spadix 20–42 cm. long; sterile appendix cylindric, 14–30 cm. long, 0.5–1.6 cm. in diameter, erect at first, later curving forward, smooth, dull greyish green with cream base; staminate part cylindric, 1–1.7 cm. long, 0.5–1.5 cm. in diameter, sulphur yellow; sterile zone with cylindric, longitudinally ridged axis, 3.5–8 cm. long, 0.3–1.2 cm. in diameter, cream becoming purple apically, lowermost 1.5–2 cm. bearing 0.5–0.8 cm. long, horizontal to upward-curving, filiform to clavate, cream, sterile projections, with bluish-green, ± swollen tips; pistillate part cylindric to subconic, 0.7–1.6 cm. long, 0.6–1.4 cm. in diameter.
- Ovary flask-shaped to cylindric, dark reddish-purple; ovules 1–2, pear-shaped, borne on massive basal placental cushion; stigma capitate, cream, 0.5 mm. in diameter.
- Berries obovate, 0.9–1 cm. long, ± 0.8 cm. in diameter, 1–2-seeded, mulberry purple to red, borne at or partly below ground-level in tight subglobose head up to 4 cm. in diameter.
- Seed obovate, 0.7–0.8 cm. long, 0.45–0.55 cm. in diameter; testa fleshy, dark spotted; embryo small, central, cylindric; endosperm copious.
- Fig. 15.
According to Kew Species Profiles[KSP]
- General Description
A distinctive plant from upland areas of Africa and Asia, voodoo lily has flowers that emit a smell resembling rotting meat.
Native to upland areas of Africa and Asia, voodoo lily has flowers that emit a foul smell resembling rotting meat. This odour attracts insect pollinators such as flies. Despite its putrid smell, voodoo lily is popularly cultivated as an ornamental. Its popularity is due in part to it being one of the easiest aroids to propagate and one of the hardest to kill.
- Species Profile
Geography and distribution
Widely distributed from tropical Africa to China, voodoo lily is reported to occur in various habitats including evergreen forest, riverine forest and wet savannah, mostly in damp or wet areas in the shade.
Overview: A tuberous perennial with a large, umbrella-like leaf on a brownish-red speckled petiole (leaf stalk) that appears after flowering.
Flowers: The flowering parts consist of a spathe (hood-like structure) wrapped around a spadix (flower-bearing spike). The large, twisting spathe (up to 1 m long) is yellow to brown with reddish-purple spots. The purple spadix is slightly shorter or the same size as the spathe.
Fruits: Red to bright purple berries.
Conservation assessments carried out at Kew
Sauromatum venosum is being monitored as part of the IUCN Sampled Red List Index for Plants, which aims to produce conservation assessments for a representative sample of the world’s plant species. This information will then be used to monitor trends in extinction risk and help focus conservation efforts where they are needed most.
Learn more about this project
Voodoo lily is cultivated as an ornamental. The tubers can be grown indoors as a curiosity; they can flower without soil or water, although the tuber should be planted and fed immediately after flowering if it is to be kept alive.
The roasted tubers of Sauromatum venosum are eaten locally.
This species at Kew
Sauromatum venosum is grown behind-the-scenes in Kew’s Tropical Nursery.
Dried and alcohol-preserved specimens of Sauromatum venosum are held in Kew’s Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details of some of these can be seen online in Kew’s Herbarium Catalogue.
- Primary evergreen forests, meadows by rivers, secondary thickets and along the sides of paths.
- Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Intense irritation can be experienced when handling or consuming raw plant material of many members of Araceae (aroid plant family).
Angola, Assam, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Central African Repu, China South-Central, East Himalaya, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gulf of Guinea Is., India, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tanzania, Tibet, Uganda, West Himalaya, Yemen, Zambia, Zaïre
- Voodoo lily
Sauromatum venosum (Dryand. ex Aiton) Kunth appears in other Kew resources:
Herbarium Catalogue (75 records)
|Date Identified||Reference||Herbarium Specimen||Type Status|
|Jan 1, 1975||Sanford, W.W. , Cameroon||K000390810|
|Jan 1, 1975||Bauer, P.J. , Cameroon||K000390811|
|Schweinfurth, G. , Eritrea||K000390812|
|Schweinfurth, G. , Eritrea||K000390813|
|Burger, W. , Ethiopia||K000390814|
|Meyer , Ethiopia||K000390815|
|Gilbert, E.F. , Ethiopia||K000390816|
|Schweinfurth, G. , Eritrea||K000390817|
|Chandler, P. , Uganda||K000390818|
|Major, E.J. , Kenya||K000390819|
|Mainwaring , Kenya||K000390820|
|Jack, C. , Kenya||K000390821|
|Tweedie , Kenya||K000390823|
|Tweedie , Kenya||K000390824|
|Tanner, R.E.S. , Tanzania||K000390825|
|Tweedie , Kenya||K000390826|
|Richards, H.M. , Tanzania||K000390827|
|Polhill, R. , Tanzania||K000390828|
|Polhill, R. , Tanzania||K000390829|
|Watermeyer , Tanzania||K000390830|
|Harwood , Tanzania||K000390831|
|Renvoize, S.A. , Tanzania||K000390832|
|Polhill, R. , Tanzania||K000390833|
|Polhill, R. , Tanzania||K000390834|
|Stolz, A. , Tanzania||K000390835|
|Stolz, A. , Tanzania||K000390836|
|Adeleysen, E. , Tanzania||K000390841|
|O'Brien, J. [s.n.], Malawi||K000390842|
|Salubeni, A.J. , Malawi||K000390843|
|Brummitt, R.K. , Malawi||K000390844|
|Pawek, J. , Malawi||K000390845|
|Patel, I.H. , Malawi||K000390846|
|Richards, H.M. , Zambia||K000390848|
|Fanshawe, D.B. , Zambia||K000390849|
|Fanshawe, D.B. , Zambia||K000390850|
|Angus, A. , Zambia||K000390851|
|s.coll. , India||K000390853|
|s.coll. , India||K000390854|
|s.coll. , India||K000390855|
|s.coll. , India||K000390856|
|Collett, H. , India||K000390857|
|Collett, H. , India||K000390858|
|Collett, H. [s.n.], India||K000390859|
|Gamble, J.S. , India||K000390860|
|Gamble, J.S. , India||K000390861|
|Rich, H.H. , India||K000390862|
|Gamble, J.S. , India||K000390863|
|Aitchison , India||K000390864|
|Ward, F.K. , India||K000390868|
|Jarrett, F.M. , India||K000390869|
|Jarrett, F.M. , India||K000390870|
|E.M.R. , India||K000390871|
|s.coll. [s.n.], India||K000390872|
|D.H. , India||K000390873|
|Barnes, E. , India||K000390874|
|Barnes, E. , India||K000390875|
|Barnes, E. , India||K000390876|
|Barnes, E. , India||K000390877|
|Barnes, E. , India||K000390878|
|Barnes, E. , India||K000390879|
|Strachey, R. , India||K000390880|
|Duthie, J.F. [s.n.], India||K000390881|
|Schafer, H. , India||K000390882|
|Rich, H.H. , India||K000390883|
|Rich, H.H. , India||K000390884|
|Rich, H.H. , India||K000390885|
|Aitchison [s.n.], India||K000390886|
|Aitchison , India||K000390888|
|J.J. [s.n.], India||K000390889|
|Woodrow, G.M. [s.n.], India||K000390890|
|Gamble, J.S. , Pakistan||K000390891|
|Deane, H. , Pakistan||K000390892|
|Aitchison , India||K000390893|
|Aitchison , India||K000390894|
|Aitchison, J.E.T. , Pakistan||K000390895|
First published in Enum. Pl. 3: 28 (1841)
-  Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015) The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan . Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
-  (2012) Flora Zambesiaca 12(1): 1-54. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
-  (2010) Flora of China 23: 1-515. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
-  (2006) Scripta Botanica Belgica 35: 1-438
-  Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002) World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae) . The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [Cited as Typhonium venosum.]
-  World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2010). Sauromatum venosum. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
-  Thacker, H. (2009). Sauromatum venosum. Assessment using IUCN Categories and Criteria 3.1 (IUCN 2001). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
-  Mabberley, D. J. (2008). Mabberley’s Plant-book: a Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses. 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
-  Huxley, A., Griffiths, M. & Levy, M. (eds) (1999). The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening, Volume 4 (R to Z). Macmillan Reference, London.
-  enum. Pl. 3: 28 (1841).
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa
International Plant Names Index
The International Plant Names Index (2016). Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org
[C] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families(2016). Published on the Internet http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
[F] See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
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