voovoo liliesWilliamsport- The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society is playing host to most unusual visitors- exotic ‘Voodoo Lilies’. 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.

These botanical specimens belongs to Larry Fryda, who is an active volunteer of the Taber Museum.

There is no admission to view the plant, however, there is an admission to view the rest of the museum.