Saturday, May 21, 2011

Amorphophallus bulbifer 2011

Family: Araceae •
Genus: Amorphophallus •
Species: bulbifer
(Schott) Blume (1837)•
Country of Origin: India •
Synonyms:Arum bulbiferum
Common Names: Voodoo Lily, Devil's Tongue, Corpse Flower •

A. bulbifer is one of my prized Amorphophallus species. I found this little stinker by its stench this morning! This flower smells like rotting flesh and sulfur to attract its pollinator; flies, beetles and other insects. What you see above is the flower. Like most aroids it is composed of a spathe which usually envelops the spadix a flower spike with a fleshy axis. One interesting thing about most Amorphophallus is that they produce one single leaf, which you can see in my previous post Amorphophallus bulbifer. I know it looks like many leaves but I assure you botanically speaking it is a single leaf. This species has a deep green leaf with pink margins. The leaf will sometimes grows bubils in its axis which it uses for asexual reproduction. This trait was incorporated into its species name bulbifer. It also has an amazing looking stem almost reptilian or alien in appearance. The leaf will die off after some time usually after summer; at which time the plant will go dormant. During this period, which fortunately enough for me coincides with our dry season, I withhold all water to prevent fungal activity. After one or two years of vegetative growth you are rewarded with a beautiful and unusual flower as seen above! A. bulbifer  is easy to grow and I grow this plant in a moist medium consisting of peat moss, vermiculite, and sand; in full morning sunlight (50-75%). I often have bubils and seeds for sale; contact me if you are interested and I will put you on my waiting list.

Sources: Amorphophallus. (2011, April 13). Retrieved from 

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Amorphophallus bulbifer 2011 by Eric Bronson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Clathrus ruber

Invasion of the Body Snatchers!! These have been popping up all over my yard this year, probably due to all the mulch I have added over the last year. I thought I had a dead critter in the yard but it turns out it was this stinky son-of-a-gun!

Family:Phallaceae •
Genus:Clathrus •
Species:ruber •
Country of Origin: Northern Africa, Asia, Australia, and North and South America •
Synonyms: Clathrus flavescens Pers. (1801) Clathrus cancellatus Tourn. ex Fr. (1823)
Clathrus nicaeensis Barla (1879) Clathrus ruber var. flavescens (Pers.) Quadr. & Lunghini (1990)
Common Names: Latticed Stinkhorn, Basket Stinkhorn, Red Cage •

Clathrus ruber is a species of fungus in the stinkhorn family, and the type species of the genus Clathrus. It is commonly known as the latticed stinkhorn, the basket stinkhorn, or the red cage, alluding to the striking fruit bodies that are shaped somewhat like a round or oval hollow sphere with interlaced or latticed branches. The fungus is saprobic, feeding off decaying woody plant material, and is usually found alone or in groups in leaf litter on garden soil, grassy places, or on wood-chip garden mulches ("Clathrus ruber," 2011)

The fruit body initially appears like a whitish "egg" attached to the ground at the base by cords called rhizomorphs. The egg has a delicate, leathery outer membrane enclosing the compressed lattice that surrounds a layer of olive-green spore-bearing slime called the gleba, which contains high levels of calcium that help protect the developing fruit body during development. As the egg ruptures and the fruit body expands, the gleba is carried upward on the inner surfaces of the spongy lattice, and the egg membrane remains as a volva around the base of the structure. The fruit body can reach heights of up to 20 cm (7.9 in). The color of the fruit body, which can range from pink to orange to red, results primarily from the carotenoid pigments lycopene and beta-carotene. The gleba has a fetid odor, somewhat like rotting meat, which attracts flies and other insects to help disperse its spores ("Clathrus ruber," 2011)

Since the appearance of these indicates excellent microbial activity, I'm thrilled about them popping up even if they do stink!

Sources:Clathrus ruber. (2011, March 17). Retrieved from

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