Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Dennst.) Nicolson

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Inflorescence. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photograoher A. Lyne.

Nicolson, D.H. (1977) Taxon 26(2/3): 338.

Common name

Yam; Cheeky Yam


Tuber depressed-globose, to about 30 cm in diameter, ca. 20 cm high, dark brown, root scars prominent, annulate, offsets produced every season, these thick rhizomatous, to ca. 10 x 4 cm.


Leaf solitary or two; petiole to ca. 2 meters long and 20 cm in diameter, background color pale to dark green or blackish green, usually with large and small pale blotches and numerous tiny dark dots, the large blotches often confluent, especially near the base, surface shallowly corrugate to strongly echinate-verrucate; lamina highly dissected, to about 3 meters in diameter; leaflets rounded, oval, ovate, obovate, elliptic, elliptic-oblong, elliptic-lanceolate or lanceolate, acuminate, 3-35 cm long, 2 to 12 cm in diameter, upper surface midgreen, lower surface mid-green or pale green.


Inflorescence short-peduncled; peduncle 3 to 20 cm long, about 1 to 8 cm in diameter, usually paler and smoother than petiole; spathe campanulate, broader than long, 10 to about 40 cm long, 15 to about 60 cm in diameter, base and limb often separated by a shallow constriction, limb spreading, strongly undulate, base outside very variable, background color ranging from pale green to dark brown, usually with large and small, circular paler spots, base inside lower part deep maroon, upper zone dirty whitish or very pale pinkish, limb outside as base but with more prominent maroon flushes, especially near the margin, limb inside usually glossy dark maroon, base within densely verrucate, verrucae variable, mostly conical, fleshy. Spadix sessile, shorter or longer than spathe, 7 to about 70 cm long.


Fruits produced in spikes. Individual fruits ellipsoid to globular, orange to red. Seeds almost as large as the fruits.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT and CYP especially on the Torres Straight Islands. Altitudinal range near sea level. Grows in monsoon forest, vine thickets and rainforest. Also from Madagascar, India, Malesia, China to New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

Tuber edible (Brand Miller et al. 1993).

Dracontium paeoniifolium Dennst., Schlussel zum Hortus Indicus Malabaricus : 13, 21, 38(1818), Type: Rheede, Hortus Indicus Malabaricus 11 (1692) 37 t. 19. Amorphophallus campanulatus Blume ex Decne., Nouvelles Annales du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris 3: 366(1835).
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