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Time to pick the fruits of Amorphophallus

December 3, 2011

Yesterday French television said that all of northern Thailand is flooded. That is false! In Chiang Mai we have not had rain for two months. In fact, it is so dry we irrigate Dokmai Garden. We even have cancellations for the upcoming Christmas week due to the ‘flooding’. There is none here in Chiang Mai. Incompetent journalists are killing a whole region by spreading false rumours.

Anyhow, all that remains of Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Araceae) above ground this dry time of the year is an erect fruit cluster. The nutrients formerly found in the leaves are now stored in the underground tuber. I planned to collect the mature red fruits and plant them to grow more specimens, but every morning when I go out some birds have been there before me. The birds are picky, orange fruits are not mature enough. Since this is a common species you may want to look for its fruits in scrublands nearby your Chiang Mai home.

Why would you like to grow this plant in your Thai monsoon garden? The flowers are awesome and the edible black beetles attracted to them taste like hazel nuts.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2011 2:49 AM

    Hi false flood victims. How sad these journos not doing their job properly. So you bemoan the fact that you have no propagating material for your Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, a native to your area as well as my area. Analogous to the way we propagate Taro, (Colocasia esculenta, also Araceae) you might like to try this. Take the tuber and cut it into horizontal slices about 10 mm thick. These you bury just under the soil. Us expats might just be lucky.
    Pieter Bekkers

    • December 3, 2011 8:32 AM

      Exciting! Today we get two garden school students from Finland (apparently they did not chicken out), so I shall ask them to try your advice. Many tubers seem to recover from rough handling, such as a piece of a potato tuber or a yam (Dioscorea sp.).

      Eric

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