Two more stinky flowers, Morty’s ‘cousins,’ in bloom at Botanical Gardens

voodoo lily
Voodoo lily. Courtesy Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
voodoo lily
Courtesy Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko

A gardener thought an animal had died in one of the greenhouses. That’s how the staff at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens discovered that a voodoo lily, a “cousin” of the well known Morty the corpse flower, was in bloom last week.

Like Morty, the voodoo lily gives off the aroma of rotting meat.

A second voodoo lily bloomed over the weekend, so you should be able to get a whiff of the aroma through this weekend, maybe longer, said Kristy Schmitt, director of education at the Botanical Gardens.

Morty, an Amorphophallus titanum, had a flower almost eight feet tall when it bloomed in 2014. One of the voodoo lilies in bloom is about four feet tall, putting it closer to nose height, Schmitt said.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh has a voodoo lily blooming now, too, “but ours is totally taller,” Schmitt said. “Morty was taller, too,” compared to the corpse flower that Phipps had.

Morty had a stronger stench than the voodoo lilies, but Morty’s scent was at its peak for only 12 hours, she said. The voodoo lilies’ scent lasts longer. The scent is already fading, so visit soon.

The Amorphophallus konjac has medicinal uses.

In cooking, the edible corm or bulb is made into a flour or gel and used in many recipes, Schmitt said.

They’re used in beauty products, too. Schmitt got box of trendy Korean beauty supplies that included an exfoliating sponge made out of the corm (or bulb) of an Amorphophallus konjac. It’s rough and feels like a loofah, she said.

Local gardeners have raised voodoo lilies, too.

voodoo lily
Courtesy Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

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