Elephant Yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius)

Perennial
A. campanulatus. (Roxb.)Blume.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Elephant Yam
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius
Araceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The root is carminative, restorative, stomachic and tonic[240, 243]. It is dried and used in the treatment of piles and dysentery[240, 243]. The fresh root acts as an acrid stimulant and expectorant, it is much used in India in the treatment of acute rheumatism[240, 243]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Edible Use

    Rhizome – cooked[2, 4, 103, 105]. Acrid raw[2], it must be thoroughly boiled or baked[46, 61]. A very large root, it can be up to 50cm in diameter[200, 243, 266]. Caution is advised, see notes above on probable toxicity.

    Leaves and petioles – they must be thoroughly cooked[105, 183]. Caution is advised, see notes above on possible toxicity.

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a family where most of the members contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if hundreds of small needles are digging in to them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet[238].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a pot in a warm greenhouse as soon as it is ripe and the pot sealed in a plastic bag to retain moisture. It usually germinates in 1 – 8 months at 24¡c[133]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least a couple of years. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away strongly.
Requires shade and a rich soil in its native habitats, but it probably requires a position with at least moderate sun in Britain. Cultivated for its edible tuber in Asia[2], plants are not winter hardy outdoors in Britain but are sometimes grown outdoors in this country as part of a sub-tropical bedding display[1]. The tuber is harvested in the autumn after top growth has been cut back by frost and it must be kept quite dry and frost-free over winter[1, 133]. It is then potted up in a warm greenhouse in spring ready to be planted out after the last expected frosts. The tubers are planted 15cm deep[1]. It is unclear from the reports that we have seen whether or not this root can be divided, it is quite possible that seed is the only means of increase[K]. The plant has one enormous leaf and one spadix annually. It requires hand pollination in Britain[1, 133]. When ripe for pollination, the flowers have a foetid smell to attract carrion flies and midges. This smell disappears once the flower has been pollinated[245].
Tropical regions from Madagascar to Asia, Polynesia and northern Australia.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.