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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Dracunculus

I recently purchased a house that has a relative of the corpse plant in the yard. It is a perennial about 30" tall and has been in bloom since yesterday with a deep burgundy bloom that is about 10" long. It has delicate, deeply lobed leaves.

Any idea what it could be or how to care for it? I was considering transplanting it since it sits just below our dining room window, under the eave of the house. Stinky! I imagine it will only bloom for a short time. Could it be rare?


I am guessing that what you have is the voodoo lily, or Dracunculus vulgaris.

The website of a Pacific Northwest gardener, Paghat, has information about this plant with pictures for you to compare with the plant in your garden. Vanderbilt University also has images of this plant on its Bioimages page.

For contrast, here are images of corpse flower, Amorphophallus titanum.

According to The Royal Horticultural Society's A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants edited by Christopher Brickell (DK Publishing, 1996) the plant you have is frost-hardy, and grows best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. You can protect it with a winter mulch. Native to the Mediterranean, Madeira, and the Canary Islands, they grow well in open glades in sheltered woodland, or at the base of a sunny wall. From what I have heard from other gardeners (we receive several questions a year about this plant), they do spread over time. If you wish to increase their numbers, they can be propagated by separating offsets in fall or spring.

Date 2017-01-18
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August 01 2017 12:36:01