Sauromatum venosum
Common Name: voodoo lily 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Native Range: Africa, Asia
Zone: 6 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Maroon and lime green
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy


One of the easiest of the hardy aroids to grow in the St. Louis landscape, this plant will grow well in a location with dappled sun and moist, well-draining soils in Zones 6-10. Good drainage is especially important in the winter, as cool, wet soils can encourage rot. This plant can also be grown in a container if the corms are removed and stored in a cool, dry location indoors over the winter, similar to dahlias. Will reproduce readily from offshoots.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This unusual plant offers a unique accent and texture to the shade garden. In the early spring, a narrow, 12-24" tall inflorescence will emerge from the underground corm. The flower is made up of two parts, the inner spadix which is sheathed in an outer, maroon and lime green speckled spathe. The flower emits a strong odor reminiscent of carrion to attract flies, its main pollinator. Only corms that are sufficiently large will flower. If more than one flower was present, and pollination was successful, a 2” round fruiting body made up of small, dark purple berries will form at the base of the plant. Once the flower has faded, a single leaf, reaching 20” tall and 30” wide, will emerge from the corm. The leaf is deeply lobed and bright green, with a dark purple spotted petiole (leaf stem).

Genus name derives from the Latin "sauro", meaning lizard.

Specific epithet refers to the prominent venation of the leaves.


No serious insect pests or diseases reported. Poorly drained soil can lead to overall decline.


Shade garden, woodland garden, containers. Avoid planting this perennial near windows, doors, sidewalks or other frequently populated areas where the brief but overpowering odor from the spadices will be found objectionable.