Hester Blair’s yard gets a unusual visitor every year for only a few days when her Voodoo lily finally blooms. According to University of Wisconsin-Madison, the scientific name is “Amorphophallus konjac.”
“Voodoo lily is a perennial generally grown as a curiosity for its interesting foliage,” the Master Gardener program states. “Native to warm subtropical to tropical areas of eastern Asia, including Vietnam, Japan and China south to Indonesia.”
Blair said when they had to sell her sister’s house, she dug up the plant and put it in her yard. It didn’t grow the first year and she thought it was dead. However, the next year it bloomed.
“I have no idea how long she had it — she had three — she lived up on Cedar,”
“My cousin dug one up and her’s died. This one survived”
The Voodoo flower has been at her home on 19th street for over 10 years.
The plants can get up to six feet tall and reported to smell of rotten flesh when in bloom to attract the carrion flies which are its natural pollinators.
“I’ve never smelled it but my smeller don’t work to good,” Blair joked.
(Reporter’s note: The bloom didn’t smell of anything to me).
“The storms almost killed it,” Blair said. “The wind has had it’s way.”
The single “petal” (called a ruffled spathe by the University) was damaged in Monday’s storm, usually it is standing up along with the inner tube.
Blair said it didn’t need any special care, it just did it’s own thing.
For Blair, it is a connection to her sister who died 10 years ago.
“I got a lot of her stuff,” she said. “But I always think ‘Oh Billie’s blooming’ once in a while. She was the only sister I had and most of my family is gone expect one son.”