Also, four years later, I finally have an inflorescence from one of the plants my dad gave me. Last fall when I unpotted it, I noticed that the growing tip was unusually rounded (they normally are quite pointy), and that it expanded a little bit over the following couple of weeks. I made a mental note to keep an eye on it during the winter, and it's a good thing I did. If I'd stuck this plant in a box in the closet and forgotten about it until spring, things would have gotten cramped.
Seriously. The growth tip went from ~5cm to around a meter within the past few weeks. As the peduncle (floral stalk) shot up, the corm started to shrink and wrinkle, and I had to prop it up to keep it from toppling over.
Anyhow, here are a few pictures of the growth and blooming of my Amorphophallus konjac--
Not that I think it's likely that someone reading this blog cares much, but here's some rock information: The off-white rock just in front of the corm above is a chunk of granite pegmatite that I collected in Maine. It's a neat rock: very large crystals of quartz, microcline feldspar, and muscovite mica with several garnets here and there. Pegmatites form when igneous intrusions cool slowly, giving the minerals time to form very large crystals, sometimes up to several meters in length. The white thing to the right is wollastonite on a contact-metamorphosed dolomite. Wollastonite is a calcium-rich pyroxenoid (the cations in true pyroxenes are iron and magnesium; too much calcium changes the crystal structure); dolomite is a carbonate mineral that can (rarely) precipitate directly out of water, but usually forms when magnesium-rich water seeps through limestone and replaces half of the calcium ions in the crystal structure.
After the above shot was taken, I moved the plant into the downstairs bathroom and shut the door. It was just beginning to smell strange.
This is a closeup of the spathe, just to illustrate how meaty it looks. I'm not sure how well the flies that naturally pollinate these plants can see, but they really go all-out here.
These two shots were taken two days apart. Above, you can see the fresh, unopened male flowers (creamy yellow). Below, they have opened up and released their pollen, while the female flowers underneath have become unreceptive. This prevents self-pollinization. If I had another one in bloom, I could have pollinated one of them and potentially gotten some berries later in the year.
On leaving the room, I could no longer smell the plant, but I went to bed not long afterwards feeling a little queasy.
Still, I'm quite happy about this, for a couple of reasons: One, I'm proud that I accomplished something after working at it for four years. Two, it's pretty damn cool.