Plants don't get much stranger than the voodoo lilies. This large group of aroids, mostly from Asia, grows from huge underground cormlike tubers, some weighing up to 100 pounds. In summer, each produces a single inflor- escence that looks like a giant calla (Zantedeschia). A large, hoodlike bract called a spathe surrounds a central spike or finger-shaped spadix. The fragrance this emits is unforgettablethe breath of the Devil but it lasts only for about a day. The carrion stench attracts flies, which are the plant's chief pollinators.
After flowering, voodoo lilies rest for about a month before producing a single giant (to 3 ft. wide) leaf, which lasts for the rest of the summer. Plants need moist, woodsy, well-drained soil. Set the tubers 4 in. deep in late winter or early spring; apply fertilizer monthly for best results. Often grown in pots or tubs; also good for naturalized areas where neighbors aren't too close.
A. bulbifer. Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11. To 3 ft. high. Stem mottled in various shades of green produces a 112-ft. spatheblotched with pink on the outside, red on the insidesurrounding a cream-colored spadix. The flower is followed by a segmented leaf that produces bulbils in its forks by the end of summer that can be removed and planted.
A. kiusianus. Zones MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 7-11. To 3 ft. high. Stem speckled with green and white is topped with a 6-in. spathe spotted in the same manner; a dark purple, 8-in. spadix protrudes from the spathe. The leafstalk that follows is topped by an umbrellalike leaf composed of numerous leaflets.
A. konjac. Zones US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11. To 6 ft. tall. Purple-spotted stem holds a similarly mottled 3-ft. spathe from which protrudes a magenta-purple spadix. Leafstalk holds an umbrellalike, deeply lobed leaf. Increases by offsets underground, eventually forming a big clump.
A. paeonifolius. Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11. Grows to 8 ft. tall. A green marbled stalk that shades to purple at the top carries a ruffled, 112-ft.-wide, purple-and-green spathe spotted with white. The spathe holds a large, protruding, purple spadix that looks like a bulbous knob or a brain. Leaf is divided into many leaflets and carried atop a green-marbled stalk.