Singapore >> Amorphophallus peoniifolius [first post: March 26, 2004]

On March 24, we saw a rare flower blooming at the Singapore Zoo. I am certain that its an Amorphophallus and but I till now I don't know it's second name [species]. On the way out we tried to get the name at the front office but to date [March 26] we still do not get it's official name.
I am still updating with more pictures. May 23, 2004. Last leaf to open is about 1 meter. Please wait for all pictures to load and scroll down.

March 24, 2004. Here is the picture.

March 25, 2004. Both flowers grew 1-2 inches taller than yesterday. I browsed the internet and saw a similar shape and colour but much bigger in size. It called Amorphophallus paeoniifolius.

March 26, 2004. It has a rotten meat smell thus giving a general name 'corpse flower' [Indonesians call it 'bunga bangkai']. I have not been able to confirm the official name yet.

March 27, 2004. We went back just before 10 am. The petal of the big flower has lowered and the top of its center changed color. The gap between the petal and the center slightly wider compared to yesterday.

The female flowers has orange powdery threads, the male florets fuller and looks like miniature corn seeds in its cob.

This is how it looks like from the other side [against morning sun].

The next two pictures were taken at 3.19 pm. The petal slightly lower. The rotten meat smell still there [I guess by now we're so used to it and could hardly noticed], more and more insect attracted to pollinate the flower.

The second flower still hasn't bloom. I wonder if these flowers came out from one bulb.

Name confirmation. Thanks to Scott Hyndman

Scott Hyndman wrote:
Hello Rita,
Nice images. That is Amorphophallus paeoniifolius.
There is more information at You suggested in one of your captions that the two flowers (botanically they are actually inflorescences composed of hundreds of individual male and female flowers in the case of Amorphophallus) may have come from two separate tubers. That is most probably the case, although it is possible that the two tubers may have developed by naturally dividing from an original single tuber.
Scott Hyndman
Vero Beach, Florida
Home page:

On Saturday, March 27, 2004, Rita Sim wrote:
Hi Scott,
I would be glad if you could help me with the complete name of the Amorphophallus that I have been monitoring.
I am just a keen photographer.
Thank you and regards,
Rita Sim

March 28, 2004. OK, I'll use the correct terms from now on. The bigger inflorescence started to wither. The spadix [center top of the inflorescence]has some dark brown/black patches and shrank. The spathe [leafy skirt/petal] has soften and fell lower.

The female flowers turned slightly grey. Or, is it mouldy?

The male florets started turning brown.

The second inflorescence's spathe is loosening. The spadix texture fells rubbery.

March 29, 2004. The next 3 pictures of the first inflorescence decaying quickly.

The second inflorescence is now about the same height as the first on March 25.

March 30, 2004. Admiring the beauty of the second inflorences.

March 31, 2004. The second inflorences at its prime.

April 1, 2004. Apology, no picture today. Kind of busy in the morning and rain came in the afternoon. On our last trip to Bali in 2001, we took pictures of a much smaller, wild Amorphophallus paeoniifolius plant.

What I've gathered about Amorphophallus paeoniifolius

* It has another name, Amorphophallus campanulatus.
* It also known as Elephant Foot yam or telinga potato and has many local names, pongapong [PH], suweg [ID], iles iles[ID]. Another Amorphophalus species known as Elephant Foot yam is Amorphophallus konjac.
* This species is common in Asia and has been planted as crops [That explained why it's in the TROPICAL CROP section of the Singapore Zoo].
* The tuber [root bulb] is what people harvest; pumpkin shape, very starchy and could weigh more than 10 kg.
* It is said to be nutritious and delicious.
* Its medicinal property, Glucomannan, is being studied for treating obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. The tuber is one of Ayurvedic medicine to treat piles, dysentery, asthma, swelling of lungs, vomiting, abdominal pain, also as a blood purifier. While the paste of tubers is applied externally to reduce pain in arthritis.
* What's in the name? Amorphophallus = Deformed or shapeless penis. Paeoniifolius = Peony-like foliage.

April 2, 2004. The second inflorence withered. What next? We'll just have to wait and see.

April 9, 2004. The next 2 pictures are the dried inflorences.

April 18, 2004. Both inflorences fell flat to the ground and dried. It seems that there was unsuccessfull pollination.

May 5, 2004. New beginning, there are 2 shoots, the tallest one is about 6 inches.

May 9, 2004. There are 4 shoots now. The tallest one grew about 2 inches since May 5. What could those shoots be? It would be nice if those would bloom soon.

May 12, Scott Hyndman wrote:
What you are seeing are new leaves emerging from several tubers. Each tuber will send up at least one new leaf shoot at the beginning of each growing season. Earlier images of the inflorescences that there were two of those. That definitely indicates that there is a mature tuber for each inflorescence. A mature tuber can send up side shoots as well that can develop into separate tubers at the end of the growing season.

May 14, 2004. 4 leaves.

The tallest one is about 2 feet and it's beautiful.

May 16, 2004. Here are the 4 leaves and the growth is so fast.

The first leaf is now about 15 inches wide. On a single stalk the leaf comprised of many
smaller leaflets. It looks a bit like a single giant celery leaf.

May 19, 2004. 2 leaves fully opened and 2 more about to open.

And, one teenie weenie leaf opening in a few days time.

May 23, 2004. Last leaf to open is about 1 meter high. The tiny leaf disappeared.

I will do frequent updates with more pictures.

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