The main insect pollinator of Helicodiceros is the blowfly and in order to attract them, the flower produces a spathe that has the color and texture of skin and a spadix with a rotten fish scent...mmm, mmm good!
More Information About Helicodiceros
Very closely related to dracunculus, helicodiceros is a monotypic aroid genus native to a few islands in the Mediterranean. It is an esoteric and exotic plant that is extremely hard to find for sale. The main insect pollinator of Helicodiceros is the blowfly and in order to attract them, the flower produces a spathe that has the color and texture of skin and a spadix with a rotten fish scent...mmm, mmm good! Luckily the scent lasts only for a single day.
Helicodiceros flowers have the rare ability to generate heat via a process called thermogenesis...a warm-blooded plant! During the flowering cycle, the helicodiceros flower generates enough heat to volatilize the main scent components of the flower. The heat (and thus the scent) is produced in waves that last several minutes apiece. Flies, attracted by the smell, enter the Helicodiceros flower through a constricted entrance looking for a meal and are trapped inside for an entire day where they are thoroughly covered with pollen. After a day the constriction relaxes and the flies can escape, now covered in pollen.
Helicodiceros has similar growth requirements to its close aroid relative, dracunculus, which some taxonomist now consider the same genus . Early in the growth phase, Helicodiceros prefers plenty of water but does not like overly wet soils when dormant. In the fall, watering should be stopped to force the plant into dormancy. The dry conditions should be maintained until the following February when you can resume light watering until the tops re-appear. If you keep your helicodiceros too dry, it will go dormant early in the year and not reappear until the following spring. When you are ready to buy helicodiceros for your garden, check out our online offering of helicodiceros for sale.