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Dead horse arum lily
Helicodiceros muscivorus00.jpg
Illustration from Louis van Houtte's Flore des serres et des jardins de l'Europe (1849)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Areae
Genus: Helicodiceros
Species: H. muscivorus
Binomial name
Helicodiceros muscivorus
(L.f.) Engl.
Helicodiceros distribution.svg
Range of Helicodiceros muscivorus in Europe
  • Megotigea Raf.
  • Arum muscivorum L.f.
  • Dracunculus muscivorus (L.f.) Parl.
  • Arum crinitum Aiton
  • Arum spirale Salisb.
  • Dracunculus crinitus Schott
  • Megotigea crinita Raf.
  • Helicodiceros crinitus (Raf.) Schott
  • Dracunculus muscivorus var. caprariensis Romo

Helicodiceros muscivorus (dead horse arum lily)[2][3] is an ornamental plant native to Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. It is the only species in the genus Helicodiceros.[1][4][5]

The flowers of Helicodiceros muscivorus smell like rotting meat, attracting carrion-seeking blowflies which act as pollinators. One of a rare group of thermogenic plants, the dead horse arum can raise its temperature by thermogenesis. This helps to lure flies into the plant to contact its pollen.[6]



  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ H. muscivorus at International Plant Names Index
  3. ^ D. crinitus at Lemaire, Charles. Flore des serres et des jardins de l’Europe (1849)[dead link]
  4. ^ S. Castroviejo et al. (eds.) (2008). Flora Iberica 18: 1-420. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
  5. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Gigaro mangiamosche, Helicodiceros muscivorus (L. Fil.) Engler
  6. ^ A. M. Angioy, M. C. Stensmyr, I. Urru, M. Puliafito, I. Collu & B. S. Hansson (2004). "Function of the heater: the dead horse arum revisited". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 271 (Suppl. 3): S13–S15. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2003.0111. PMC 1809992. PMID 15101405. 

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