Gonatopus boivinii or Giraffe's Knees, a native of tropical E. Africa is an interesting aroid to grow. A single leaf arises from a flat tuber that will reach 6 inches across; the leaf often reaches 3 ½ feet in height and is marbled with blackish-brown markings. The leaf stalk is swollen about halfway up giving it the appearance of a giraffe's knee.
Blooming Time: Late Spring. The single flower is 8 inches tall and the spadix is 3 inches long.
Culture: Gonatopus boivinii need filtered sunlight to light shade and warm temperatures. We grow ours under 25% shade. We use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand or perlite. During the growing season the plant is kept moist at all times. Fertilize during the growing season every 2 weeks with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. When the leaf dies back in fall the tubers are lifted and stored in vermiculite at 40° until late February.
Propagation: Gonatopus boivinii are propagated by division of tubers in the spring or by seed. Fresh seed germinate very quickly at 65°.
Gonatopus boivinii was featured as Plant of the Week May 4-10, 2001.
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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.