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Amorphophallus paeoniifolius - (Dennst.)Nicolson.

Common Name Elephant Yam, Whitespot giant arum
Family Araceae
USDA hardiness 11-12
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a family where most of the members contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if hundreds of small needles are digging in to them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet[238].
Habitats Loose leafy detritus in moist shady habitats[200]. Tropical conditions in secondary forests, shrub forests and grasslands in arid valley areas at elevations below 750 metres[266].
Range E. Asia - China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, north Australia, western Pacific
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius Elephant Yam, Whitespot giant arum

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius Elephant Yam, Whitespot giant arum


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Flies.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


A. campanulatus. (Roxb.)Blume.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root
Edible Uses:

Corm - cooked[2 , 4 , 103 , 105 ]. Acrid raw[2 ], it must be thoroughly boiled or baked (see notes above on 'Known Hazards'[K ])[46 , 61 ]. A very large root, it can be up to 50cm in diameter[200 , 243 , 266 ]. Corms are usually harvested when three years old, at this stage they can weigh up to 9kg[300 ]. The corms can be stored for several months at 10°c[300 ]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity. The fresh corms are turned into curd, or are chopped then dried[472 ]. The curd is relatively tasteless, but it absorbs flavours well and so can be used as a carbohydrate element in a wide range of other foods[472 ]. Young leaves and petioles - cooked and used as a vegetable[300 ]. They must be thoroughly cooked[105 , 183 ]. Caution is advised, see notes above on possible toxicity.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Carminative  Dysentery  Expectorant  Restorative  Stomachic  Tonic

The root is carminative, restorative, stomachic and tonic[240, 243]. It is dried and used in the treatment of piles and dysentery[240, 243]. The fresh root acts as an acrid stimulant and expectorant, it is much used in India in the treatment of acute rheumatism[240, 243]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Plants are often grown as an understorey crop in woodlands or in plantations of betel (Areca spp.), coconuts (Cocos nucifera), bananas (Musa spp.) or coffee (Coffea spp.)[472 ].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A temperature in the range of 25 - 35°c is required with an annual rainfall of 1,000 - 1,500mm[300 ]. Corm development is promoted during dry periods[300 ]. The best crops are produced on deep, fertile, alluvial soils that are slightly acid[300 ]. Dislikes heavy clay soils[300 ]. Plants require some shade, especially when young[300 ]. Members of this genus generally require a moist but well-drained, humus-rich, fertile soil and a position in dappled shade[472 ]. The plants are usually grown on a three year cycle[300 ]. An interesting technique used in Indonesia is to dig up the tuber after one year and then replant it upside down. This stimulates the lateral buds into growth and increases the overall size of the tuber[472 ]. Yields of 20 tonnes per hectare can be achieved[300 ]. There are many cultivated forms, some of which have a lower content of calcium oxalate crystals and less or no alkaloids[472 ]. The plant produces one or two enormous leaves and one short flowering stem annually. When ripe for pollination, the flowers have a foetid smell to attract carrion flies and midges. This smell disappears once the flowers have been pollinated[245 ]. Like many species in the family Araceae, this plant has the ability to heat the flowering spadix as the pollen becomes ready for fertilization. This heat greatly increases the strength of the aroma released by the plant, thus attracting more pollinating insects. It can also have the effect of making the insects more active, thus increasing the level of fertilization[472 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown in a pot in a warm greenhouse as soon as it is ripe and the pot sealed in a plastic bag to retain moisture. It usually germinates in 1 - 8 months at 24°c[133]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least a couple of years. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away strongly.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Achung, Arsaghna, Ba-tel-hawng, Badur, Baghraj, Balukand, Bebebikeno, Buk, Chena, Daiga, FiÕi Andoi, Hakai, Hita, Iles-iles, Jimmikand, Kanda, Karnai-kilangu, Kembang bangah, Keobi, Leba, Loka, Loki, Ol kochu, Ol, Ool, Pungapung, Soa, Soro, Stinking Snakeskin Lily, Suran, Suvarna gadde, Suweg, Talingo potato, Telinga potato, Teve, Ubi kekek, Voodoo lily, Walur, Whitespot giant arum, Zamin-kand.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Least Concern

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Amorphophallus konjacDevil's Tongue, Devil's Tongue, Snake Plant, Konjac, Konnyaku Potato, Voodoo LilyPerennial1.3 6-11 FLMFSM422
Amorphophallus rivieriDevil's Tongue, Umbrella Arum, Leopard Palm, Snake PalmPerennial0.8 10-11  LMSNM221

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

RAJA CHOWDARY   Sat Feb 19 20:58:32 2005

hai this is raja,i just want to know the molecular methods for the production of disease resistant varities of elephant foot yam

   Thu Apr 14 09:59:44 2005

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius is a highly potential cash crop. Details of commercial cultivation, planting material production and about a unique Revolving Fund Scheme run by the author are described in the website.

iswarya   Mon Jun 13 07:29:27 2005

hi,this is ishwarya.i want to know about the compounds and metabolites present in this amorphophallus campanulatus,and amorphophallus paeoniifolius

malar   Mon Dec 19 2005

hi this malar i want to know about active principles in amorphpphallus paenoiifolius

Kergraiy   Mon Apr 10 2006

very helpful, i needed it for a school assignment, and it proved to have almost ALL of the info i needed!

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