Synandrospadix vermitoxicus

Common Name: synandrospadix 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Araceae
Native Range: Western South America
Zone: 9 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Spathe: light green with maroon stripes, spadix: maroon
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Wet Soil

Culture

Best grown in evenly moist, well-draining, loose, loamy to sandy soils in full sun to part shade. Requires a dry dormancy period in winter. Resume watering in late winter. Some afternoon shade will help prevent leaf burn during the hottest parts of the summer. Hardy from Zones 9-11. This plant is not widely used in horticulture, so its cold hardiness may be greater than what is listed here. Can be propagated by dividing offsets and from seed. This plant is slow to break dormancy (in some cases not until early summer), so be patient and do not disturb the tubers.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Synandrospadix vermitoxicus is a tuberous perennial native to central South America where it is found growing in open scrublands and roadside ditches. The large leaves are glossy and cordate in shape with undulating margins. The foliage forms an upright, vase-shaped clump. In summer, one or more 12" tall inflorescences will appear from the base of the clump. Like other aroids, the inflorescence is made up of an outer spathe and an inner, spike-like spadix. The spathe is creamy white with dark green, vertical striations on the outside and dark purple, vertical striations on the inside. The spadix is dark maroon. The inflorescence also creates an unpleasant, fetid fragrance, a characteristic it shares with some of its fellow aroids (most famously perhaps Amorphophallus titanum, or corpse flower). This is a slow growing plant that will reach up to 2' tall with a 2' spread at maturity.

Genus name comes from the Greek syn meaning together, andros meaning male and spadix for the male flowers being crowded on the spadix.

The specific epithet vermitoxicus means "toxic to worms", in reference to one of the traditional uses of the tubers as an insecticide.

Problems

No known pest or disease problems. Root rot is possible if planted in overly wet and poorly drained soils.

Uses

An interesting specimen plant for both indoor and outdoor plantings.