Back to Biodiversity Explorer main pageGo to Iziko Museums of Cape Town home pageAbout Biodiversity Explorer - history, goals, etc.Send us your questions about southern African biodiversityPeople who have contributed content and images.Search Biodiversity Explorer

Genus: Amorphophallus

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Alismatales > Family: Araceae

About 150 species, found throughout the Old World tropics, with three species native to southern Africa and a further species that is cultivated in the region. The genus includes Amorphophallus titanum (Titan arum) from Sumatra, which holds the record as the plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the World, with a record height of 2.94 m (see Wikipedia).

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Amorphophallus abyssinicus

Native distribution includes Namibia and Zimbabwe. 

Amorphophallus fischeri

Recorded in Flora of Zimbabwe. Recorded as a subspecies of Amorphophallus maximus in African Flowering Plants Database.


Amorphophallus goetzei

Recorded in Flora of Mozambique but not sure whether it occurs in southern Mozambique (south of the Zambezi River).


Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

Information from Glen (2002).

Amorphophallus campanulatus (Elephant yam)

Native from India to Melanesia.




  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Mayo, S.J. 1985. Araceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa: 1-71.
  • Mayo, S.J., Bogner, J. & Boyce, P.C. 1997. The Genera of Araceae. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search