Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Amorphophallus bulbifer, the "bulbil"
The last post showed the developing inflorescence of Amorphophallus bulbifer, an aroid that I have growing in my yard. Bulbifer has the advantage of reproducing in several ways. First, as we've seen it can flower and outcross, passing pollen to adjacent flowers. However, this plant has an additional reproductive strategy that is as weird as producing a pungent stench. It makes another bulb, a clone of itself, on its vegetative shoot!
Talk about goofy. This plant has evolved to produce a bulb of itself at the junction of the petiolules, the structures that support the "leaves" of the A. bulbifer plant. It is kind of like you being able to grow your twin from your armpit. Well, maybe not exactly like that.
It is another amazing evolutionary adaptation of this genus, and another reason why they are so much fun to grow in the garden.