EXOTIC PLANTS   -   AROIDS  -  AMORPHOPHALLUS
Aroid is the common name for the Araceae family of plants that include Anthuriums, Arum Lilies, Philodendron and Amorphophallus
plants. All have in common a Spathe and a Spadix which make up their inflorescence or 'flower'.
Bali Orchid Garden has a display of a range of Amorphophallus plants, seasonaly in flower. Our plants are grown from seed collected
from various sites in Indonesia. These plants form part of our collection of species and endangered plants and are an example of our
drive towards conservation of indigenous species.  
Amorphophallus      General Information

Amorphophallus Seasonality
Most Amorphophallus experience a period of growth when a leaf is evident, followed by a period of dormancy when the leaf dies and
the plant is reduced to a tuber. The length of the growth period, the length of the period of dormancy and the frequency of the periods of
growth and dormancy varies between species, and possibly between individual plants of some species.

Amorphophallus can be divided into two groups that should be grown in different types of soil, relating to the climatic conditions that
the plants experience. Further information on this and other aspects of Amorphophallus culture can be found on the International Aroid
Society site
www.aroid.org.

In areas with a definite regular dry season the growth and flower pattern of many species of Amorphophallus synchronize with each
other and with the seasons. The obvious advantage of this is that it allows the plant to produce its leaf at a time to take maximum
advantage of rain when it occurs, and minimize loss of water by resting in the dry season. This results in flowering being simultaneous
within the species thus maximizing seed production. The seeds of these plants germinate very rapidly once rains again appear and
can have their first leaf within 2 weeks of being sown, a definite advantage in harsh climatic conditions.

Where plants have been seen growing locally in Indonesia it has been noted that the soil often dries out completely toward the end of
the dry season with the surrounding vegetation thinning creating virtually no overhead canopy causing the tubers to have to survive in a
layer of hard dry soil. Tubers of
A. peoniifolius and A. variabilis plants that have adapted to these conditions should be suited to
storage out of the pot without any soil. These can be classified as Group I Amorphophallus.

In contrast, Amorphophallus species from deep equatorial jungle that does not have a true dry period do not generally follow any
seasonal pattern and their periods of growth and dormancy can be difficult to determine. They can be found in clay substrate overlaid
with leaf litter, sometimes peat and it is almost always damp, or occasionally very wet to the point that there may even be water at the
bottom of the hole containing the tuber. These plants have no need to adapt to any dry period so a regularly defined period of dormancy
would not be necessary. They must always be in contact with moist soil and do not tolerate drying or desiccation of their tubers. Plants
in this category can be classified as Group II Amorphophallus.

For more information on these Amorphophallus varieties see below.


                                Come and see these amazing plants at Bali Orchid Garden
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 Bali Orchid Garden
Amorphophallus titanum                 Amorphophallus paeoniifolius       
Amorphophallus manta                   Amorphophallus gigas
Amorphophallus decus-silvae        Amorphophallus variabilis
Amorphophallus hirsuitus               Amorphophallus beccarii
Amorphophallus spectabilis
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius
Geographical Distribution
As far east as Sumba, in Bali, throughout Java and in Sumatra in the south near Lampung and in the south-western region.

Habitat
A. paeoniifolius appears to be strictly a lowland Amorphophallus found growing up to only a few hundred metres above sea level.  It prefers minimal
temperature variation and occurs where there is little seasonal and only slight diurnal temperature variation. Where it occurs in lowland Bali daytime
temperatures range from 32-34C in January to 28- 30C in June and night temperature varies from18C- 22C.  

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius may be seen growing in full sun where surrounding vegetation has been cleared but is usually found in semi-shade where
vegetation has a relatively open under-story. It tolerates less drainage than most other Amorphophallus. In cultivation it can grow in any fertile soil and grows
well in mixes of sand, rice husks or wood shavings. In Bali it often grows beneath coconut palms or stands of bamboo in clay that dries and cracks for 8
months of the year so that the plant completely disappears for the dry season. In the wet season from early December to April
A. paeoniifolius appears and
flowers late October to early November, producing a leaf directly afterward. By late April as rains cease the leaf turns yellow with only a few hardy plants seen
in leaf by June.
A. paeoniifolius is a “classic” Group I Amorphophallus and tubers should be stored dry when dormant.

Morphology
There appear to be two forms of A. paeoniifolius  distinguished only by their petioles.
While identical in every other respect, one form has a smooth petiole and the other develops bumps and knobs over the entire surface of the petiole,
extending to the underside of the leaf.
A.  paeoniifolius tubers tend to be easy to identified. They form eyes and offsets  that give a bumpy and ridged appearance to the otherwise papery surfaced
tuber. There are often several large offsets that can be easily removed from the top of the tuber. See photo.
A. Paeoniifolius flowers, topped with a bulbous purple spadix, hug the ground and spread themselves out wide when in full bloom. The leaf of larger plants
may be around 1.5m high.

Comments
A. paeoniifolius is one of a few Amorphophallus that is used as food.  
Tubers can only be harvested when dormant when their irritant is not present. The tuber is skinned like an apple then cut into pieces and steamed or
roasted in a fire like potato. It can either be eaten in large pieces as part of a salad or chopped up and eaten with a hot local sambal sauce.
A paeonifolius petiole
A paeonifolius bud opening
A paeoniifolius tuber
A paeonifolius
influorescence bud
Young plant in garden
A Paeonifolius florescence early
stage with female stamens
A paeonifolius inflorescence
later stage with pollen
A. paeoniifolius plant
Photos taken of plants growing at Bali Orchid Garden
Amorphophallus titanum
Geograpical distribution
Found in Indonesia in the island of Sumatra from Bengkulu in south to Bukittinggi.

Habitat
Plants have been discovered between 700m asl to 1200m asl. A. titanum can be
found in deep jungle in areas with a high annual rainfall all year round. It requires to
be in the soil at all times. The plant prefers the slightly cooler more even
temperatures of the higher altitudes than other tropical Amorphophallus.
Temperatures may be as low as 24C daytime, 15C at night. The plant grows in part
shade under a canopy that is not as dark as that of
A. manta, and can also be found
in cleared areas in full sun. Although
A. titanum does not appear to go dormant, it
does have a flowering season around August, September. It grows naturally in clay
soil with a layer of leaf litter, and is on steep well drained slopes. The plant grows in
moist conditions often near waterways where the ground does not dry out.

The petiole is dark green with lighter green spots. The smooth potato-like tuber
grows deeply at about 50cm, the depth helping to support the huge petiole. Seeds
are the size of brazil nuts and often eaten by wild pigs.

While
A. peoniifolius has a similar looking petiole to A. titanum, the A. peoniifolius
tubers produce offsets which are never found in
A. titanum.

Plants grown from seeds can be seen growing at the gardens.
Amorphophallus titanum plant
A Titanum seedling
Amorphophallus spectabilis
Similar plant to A titanum in appearance. The plant is robust and has
grown from seed collected from selected regions in Indonesia with plants
now on view at over 8 feet in cultivation at our garden.
A spectabilis plant
A spectabilis petiole
Bali Orchid Garden    email: info@baliorchidgarden.com.    www.baliorchidgardens.com       Telp: +62 361466010      Fax: +62 361 466011  
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