Amorphophallus ‘John Tan’

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The Originator

Ralph D. Mangelsdorff Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main Faculty of Biosciences Department Ecology Evolution and Diversity Max-von-Laue-Str. 13 60439 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

The Namer

Cyrille Claudel Biocentre Klein Flottbek and Botanical garden Hamburg University Ohnhorststrasse 18 22609 Hamburg, Germany


A. variabilis Bl. (seed parent) x A. titanum (pollen parent)


On the 23rd of May 2002, Mangelsdorff applied pollen of Amorphophallus titanum on the stigmas of one inflorescence of Amorphophallus variabilis. The berries took some five months to mature and yielded five viable seeds among many sterile degenerate ones. Some of the plantlets perished very soon but two survived. Because of heavy infestation with nematodes, the plants were transferred in a rescue mission to the hands of Wilbert Hetterscheid. They were cultivated for a few years in the Amorphophallus research collection in the Wageningen University Botanical Gardens in the Netherlands and finally cleared of nematodes. Due to the sudden closure of the botanical gardens in Wageningen, a new shelter was required. One plant was handed over to the Botanical Garden of Leiden University, The Netherlands, and the second one to the Botanical Garden of Hamburg University, Germany, in 2008, where it was nursed by the first author, and was finally brought to flower in June 2011. This is the plant we describe here. The Leiden plant is still alive but hasn’t flowered yet

Name Derivation

Out of gratitude, Claudel chose to name this particular cultivar in honor of a friend and his encouraging help.

Naming and Publication

Published in Aroideana V35 ( 2012 )

Patents and Trademarks



Amorphophallus ‘John Tan’, new cultivar. Standard specimen: C. Claudel 111221-1 (HBG, leaf parts only, inflorescence to be added), collected from a plant cultivated in the Hamburg Bot. Garden, 21 December 2011, originating from an artificial cross in Frankfurt Palmengarten (Germany) between a seed parent plant of A. variabilis Bl. and a pollen parent plant of A. titanum (Becc.) Becc. ex Arc. made 2002 by Ralph Mangelsdorff. The seed parent originated from Leiden Bot. Garden (Netherlands) and the pollen parent from Frankfurt Palmengarten (Germany), both are no longer alive.

Tuber depressed globose, to at least 24 cm in diam. and to 15 cm in height, weighing ca. 6 kg, surface whitish-brownish with many raised areas, no offset development. Leaf solitary; cataphylls to 50 cm long, brownish, with white lichenlike spots; petiole to 1.45 m. long, to 8 cm in diam. (base), turgid, smooth, dark green or brownish, with large, whitish lichen-like spots similar to the ones on the petiole of A. titanum; lamina to 1.20 m in diam., poorly dissected in young plants, resembling a young A. titanum lamina, highly dissected in mature plants, showing more resemblance with a typical A. variabilis leaf; leaflets elliptic-lanceolate, to 20 cm long, to 7 cm in diam., acuminate, leathery, upper surface slightly glossy. Inflorescence solitary; peduncle to 55 cm long, ca. 6 cm in diam., coloured as petiole but darker altogether; spathe campanulate, triangular, to 45 cm long, limb spreading, rim-haped, margin slightly plicate similar to A. titanum but not as strong as in the latter, veins of the limb strongly raised, outside base dirty greenish yellow with whitish spots, base inside verrucate and slightly purple at the base, with a broad yellowish band above and rich purple-red in the upper part. Spadix sessile, longer than spathe, ca. 1 m long; female zone 6 cm long, flowers congested; male zone slightly obconic, 8 cm long, flowers congested like in A. variabilis; appendix elongate fusiform, obtuse, ca. 80 cm long, ca. 9 cm in diam., base truncate and expanded overarching the male zone, similar as in A. titanum, dirty yellowish white, slightly rugose. Ovaries ovate, ca. 5 mm in diam., 3 mm high, orbicular, base yellowish, turning purple in the upper part; style 5 mm long, blackish purple; stigma elliptic, 1–2 mm in diam., ca. 1 mm high, orange, strongly bilobate. male flowers producing abundant pollen. Pollen fertility unknown. Propagation by vegetative means.


Include photos of plant habit, inflorescence, leaf detail, fruit, etc.

Amorphophallus John Tan 001A.jpg
Amorphophallus John Tan 001B.jpg
Amorphophallus John Tan 001C.jpg
Amorphophallus John Tan 001D.jpg