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  Dead Horse Arum
From: "Alan Galloway" alan_galloway at bellsouth.net> on 2001.04.26 at 08:19:54(6277)
A few years back, a fellow Aroid-l-er shared some tubers of Helicodiceros
with the list. The tubers that I received were planted in the garden here
in Raleigh, NC,
USA (USDA Zone 7) and the plants have gotten larger and larger each year. A
days ago one plant reached its maturity by producing an inflorescence. I've
posted a
few pictures of this awesome flower on my web site at:


The flower is much larger than I expected and the odor so much worse than I
anticipated. Of all the aroids that have bloomed for me, this is the worst!
It even
outranks Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, which almost makes me hurl breakfast.

If you notice the latter pictures, where the spathe has been cut open, the
substance is the eggs of flies. Of all the aroid flowers that I have
photographed, many
have had flies and other insects crawling all over the 'naughty bits', but
this is the first where
the flies have actually laid their eggs.

Now, if I can tolerate the odor long enough to collect some pollen.


From: "Jay Vannini" interbnk at terra.com.gt> on 2001.04.26 at 21:52:08(6278)
Dear Alan:

A truly absolutely awesome pet!! Bravissimo!!

This wonderful plant, probably due to its "in-your-face" antisocial
behavior, has to be this tropical aroid guy's favorite temperate zone arum.
Put me on your list for seed if you ever get any.

Barf bags, ahoy!!

From: "Wilbert Hetterscheid" hetter at worldonline.nl> on 2001.04.26 at 21:53:47(6279)

Pay attention to the way Alan photographed and skilfully operated on his
Helicodiceros, THAT is the proper way to do it if you want an aroid
identified. Well done, Alan, and congrats on the flowering of what I
consider the most spectacular of all aroids.........and it isn't even an


From: Paul Tyerman tyerman at dynamite.com.au> on 2001.04.27 at 07:57:21(6282)

I had Helicodicerus flower for me last year. Absolutely stunning. It is
interesting though that mine barely smelt at all. I was nicely surprised
given what we have to put up with from my various clumps of Dracunculus
vulgaris each year.

It is interesting that you rate it as worst smell, and yet we struggled to
find a smell at all (could JUSt detect it when sticking nose virtually into
the flower.

Why would mine have not ponged at all?


Paul Tyerman

From: Cgdz33a at aol.com on 2001.04.27 at 10:00:09(6284)
I have about 15 Dracunculus vulgaris which recently bloomed and wuickly died
back within 6 weeks (to my suprise). Does anyone have any cultural info about
how to treat the bulbs during dormancy. Should I keep in pots? Dry or wet? I
have over 75 aroids and im embarrased to say i have absolutely no luck with
this supposed "easy" on.

Eric C. Morgan

From: "Deni Bown" deni at yaxhampark.co.uk> on 2001.04.27 at 10:01:39(6285)

Congratulations on your event and pictures, and many thanks for sharing
them. Helicodiceros has been high on my list of favourites for many years,
and I'll never forget the first time I came across it in flower. It was in
Oxford Botanic Gardens, in the Alpine House of all places, with its pot
buried in the display area, looking for all the world as if something from a
horror movie had joined the primulas and dionysias. I didn't know much about
aroids then, and had never heard of this one, so you can imagine my
surprise. While I stood there aghast and unbelieving, several other people
filed past to see the wonderful show of jewel-like alpines, neatly set in
the gravel, and they too were visibly shocked by it. Guess someone in the
Alpine Dept. had a warped sense of humour!

Seeing the dead horse arum was one of the 'road to Damascus' events that
changed me into an aroid fanatic. It became one of my 'holy grail' plants
and at last I got one of my own, flowered it several times, and photographed
it (the photos in Aroids - Plants of the Arum Family are of my plant), so I
know just what you went through! Then one winter I lost it. It was growing
in a pot as I had no suitable garden at the time, and I think it succumbed
from damp while dormant. Tragedy! But now I have three minute tubers, thanks
to Wilbert, so am hopeful the dead horse arum will ride again.

Deni Bown

From: "Alan Galloway" alan_galloway at bellsouth.net> on 2001.04.27 at 20:35:13(6286)
> Why would mine have not ponged at all?

It was early morning and quite humid when I noticed mine. It's almost as if

From: Piabinha at aol.com on 2001.04.27 at 20:37:26(6287)
as with some stapeliads, the putative offensive smell is only discernible if you really stick your nose ot the flower. last year my Edithcolea grandis bloomed but unless your nose was inside the flower, you couldn't really smell that wonderful rotting meat fragrance.

In a message dated Fri, 27 Apr 2001 10:57:36 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Paul Tyerman writes:

From: Paul Tyerman tyerman at dynamite.com.au> on 2001.04.27 at 20:43:52(6293)

I have a number of small offsets (may fit into the minute category as well,
but they'll grow) if you're interested in getting more of them. I'm in
Australia but postage to the US (I'm assuming US?) shouldn't be a problem.

They're currently pretty much dormant, although I find that they tend to
produce roots during winter, well before shooting. Mine are the same as
the photograph on the site that started this thread of coversation.
Absolutely stunned me last year when it flowered for the first time. But
my dead horse don't stink!!


Paul Tyerman

From: Peter McKiernan pmk at iinet.net.au> on 2001.04.27 at 22:45:22(6294)

I can't comment on dead horse arum (because i dont have one) but its
interesting that when my Edithcolea grandis flowered about a month ago,
depending upon the time of day I could smell it from a meter away . Around
midday and early afternoon the smell was very strong but by later in the
afternoon it was hardly perceptible. Im told that with stapeliads the warmer
the growing conditions the higher leval of smell, could it be the same with
this plant?

Peter McKiernan

From: "Masterson's" masterson4 at cox.net> on 2003.04.29 at 05:09:59(10136)
Hello to all! Would anyone know where a plant addict in Southern California can get a Helicodiceros muscivorus? I would love to have one smelling up my garden. Thanks!

Mike Masterson

From: "C. J. Addington" cjaddington at earthlink.net> on 2003.04.30 at 20:45:20(10152)
on 4/29/03 05:09, Masterson's at masterson4@cox.net wrote:

> Hello to all! Would anyone know where a plant addict in Southern California
> can get a Helicodiceros muscivorus? I would love to have one smelling up my
> garden. Thanks!
> Mike Masterson

From: "Alan Galloway" <alan_galloway at ncsu.edu> on 2004.04.28 at 10:41:41(11448)

Helicodiceros muscivorus, the Dead Horse arum, has been flowering for me for
the last few

From: "danny wilson" <mudwasp_ at hotmail.com> on 2004.04.28 at 22:09:20(11452)
good lord those are beautiful!! thanks for the update alan!
>From: "Alan Galloway"
>Reply-To: aroid-l@lists.ncsu.edu
From: piaba <piabinha at yahoo.com> on 2004.04.29 at 09:43:28(11454)
i assume the top section of the spadix contain the
male flowers? in which case, what's happened to it in
pic 14? also, what are those tentacles in between the
top and bottom sections?

tsuh yang

From: "Alan Galloway" <alan_galloway at ncsu.edu> on 2004.04.29 at 12:48:06(11456)
Tsuh Yang,

I guess I could say that I cleaned the flower before taking pic #14, but
that wouldn't
be truthful. Pic #13 and Pic#14 are pictures of 2 different
flowers.....with pic #13 taken
after pollen had dropped and with pic #14 being taken before pollen had

As for those tentacles, I would think it keeps insects from escaping, but
I'll leave
the correct and botanical explanation to those that know it.


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