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The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society chronicles the history of our region from American Indian occupation through 20th century industry and life.

They’re back! The “Stinky Plant” Voodoo Lilies

The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society is playing host to a most unusual visitor- an exotic ‘Voodoo Lily’. Some may have heard about it, some may have seen pictures of it, but you will definitely remember its fragrance once you smell it, as it smells like rotting flesh!

Amorphophallus Konjac is a large Asian plant, also known as the devil’s tongue, the elephant-foot yam, Konjac,  or konnyaku. The plant is a member of the philodendron family. The corm, or tuber, produces a single flower in the late winter or early spring. A sturdy stalk bears a large, brownish-purple to maroon spathe, which can be as large as three feet in diameter surrounding a purple or mottled floral spike. The flowers are actually tiny individual female flowers at the base of the spike.

The male flowers appear in another zone of the spike. When in bloom, the plant produces an odor similar to a dead animal, the smell of which is intended to attract carrion flies which will then pollinate the plant. The flower will remain in bloom for approximately five days and so, visitors must hurry to view this unusual plant specimen.

This plant is grown for harvesting in certain areas of the world. The starchy tubers are edible and processed into a tasteless flour or stiff jelly. The Japanese use konjac flour to make shirataki noodles and the plant’s starch is used to make a popular fruit jelly snack. This botanical specimen belongs to Larry Fryda, who serves on the Board of Governors of the Taber Museum.

There is no admission to view the plant, however, there is an admission to view the rest of the museum. Admission is: $7.50 per adult, $6.00 per senior citizen, $5.00 per child 3-12 years of age. There is a family rate of $20.00 for a family of two adults and their children. Member of the LCHS are free. A 10% discount is available to AAA members and members of the military.

Hours of the museum are Tuesdays through Fridays, 9:30am until 4pm; and Saturdays, 11am until 4pm. The museum is located at 858 West Fourth Street, Williamsport. For further information, please call 570-326.3326.