The tuber or ‘corm’ of the elephant foot yam is cooked and eaten across India. Meanwhile, its inflorescence displays a captivating strategy to attract its main pollinators: beetles, which like to feed on and lay their eggs in decaying and rotting matter. The inflorescence therefore mimics such rotting matter: first visually, with its purplish brownish colour and secondly, by emitting a strong, rotting meat smell. The flowers bloom only for about five days, and their odour is strongest at night. Interestingly, they also produce an intense heat of 30–45° C. The beetles soon realise the deception and move on, but the flower’s work is done. The beetles move onto the next flower, carrying pollen with them.

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