Elephant Foot Yam is a tropical tuber crop grown primarily in Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the tropical Pacific islands. Because of its production potential and popularity as a vegetable in various cuisines, it can be raised as a Cash crop.
Elephant Foot Yam is perhaps one of the ugliest flowers in the world and to accompany it, it has one of the worst scents that you can imagine. It's hard to get close to the flower when it's releasing its smell. But the foul odor only lasts for a few hours after the flower opens. The plant only blooms when mature and even so it doesn't bloom every year. Flowers last only about 5 days. Even more interesting, during this phase the plant generates heat. The heat and the smell mimics rotting flesh to attract the flies that will pollinate the flower. Elephant yam is a striking aroid with a flower spike crowned with a bulbous maroon knob and encircled by a fleshy maroon and green-blotched bract. The solitary leaf, which emerges after the flowering parts, resembles a small tree. In India this species as a crop is grown mostly in Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa.
The plant blooms annually around the beginning of the rainy season. The flower bud emerges from the corm as a purple shoot, and later blooms as a purple inflorescence. The pistallate (female) and staminate (male) flowers are on the same plant and are crowded in cylindrical masses as an inflorescence. The top part is responsible for secreting mucus that gives off a putrid, pungent smell that is used to attract pollinating insects, the middle part of the inflorescence contains staminate, and the base of the inflorescence contains pistillate. The stigmas of the female flowers will be receptive on the first day of the bloom, when the pungent smell draws pollinating insects inside, and the inflorescence closes, trapping them for a night to allow the pollen deposited on the insect to be transferred to the stigmas.
The elephant-foot yam is widely used in Indian medicine and is recommended as a remedy in all three of the major Indian medcinal systems: Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. The corm is prescribed for bronchitis, asthma, abdominal pain, emesis, dysentery, enlargement of spleen, piles, elephantiasis, diseases due to vitiated blood, and rheumatic swellings. Pharmacological studies have shown a variety of effects, specifically antiprotease activity, analgesic activity, and cytotoxic activity. In addition it has been found to be a potentiator for further reducing bacteria activity when used with antibiotics.