Uses and Benefits of Pungapong

Would you like to eat this kind of plant?


Arum campanulatum Roxb.
Arum decurrens Blanco
Amorphophallus decurrens Kunth

Local names: Anto (Bis.); apon (Tag.); apong-apong (Tag.); bagang (Ibn.); bagong (Bik., Sul.); oroi (Bis.); pamangkilon (Bis.); pungapung (Tag.); tigi-nga-magmanto (Ilk.); tokod-banua (Pamp.).

Pungapung is commonly found in most, or all, provinces of Luzon and in Mindoro, in thickets and secondary forests, along roads, trails, etc., at low and medium altitudes in the settled areas. It also occurs in India through Malaya to Polynesia.


Pungapung is a perennial, stemless herb. The corm is depressed-globose, up to 30 centimeters in diameter, flowering before leafing every year from the previous year’s corm. The stem like structure, which bears the lamina, is merely the petiole (1 meter or more high), radically developed from the corm. The leaves are usually solitary, with the blades up to 1 meter in diameter, trisected, the segments dichotomous, the ultimate ones pinnately divided into oblong to oblong-obovate, acuminate lobes. The spathe is sessile, broadly campanulate, dull-purplish, margins somewhat spreading or recurved, waved and crenulate, up to 30 centimeters in diameter. The spadix is hardly longer than the spathe, the appendage ovoid, variously sulcate or depressed up to 15 centimeters long, foetid when in flower.

Hermano reports the analysis of the corm as follows: Moisture, 74.80 percent; ash, 0.73 percent; fat, (ether extract), 0.38 percent; protein, 5.10 percent; carbohydrates, 18.37 percent; crude fiber, 0.61 percent. It gives 1,000 calories per kilo. In food value it is comparable to “kalabasa” and superior to “sinkamas”.

The petioles of young, unexpanded leaves are edible, when thoroughly cooked. When food is scarce, the corm is sometimes eaten. The leaves and corms are common feed for hogs.

The raphide crystals, which occur on the corm, petiole, and leaves, produce irritation upon contact with the skin.


According to Guerrero the corms are caustic, and are employed in antirheumatic poultices as rubefacients. Kirtikar and Basu, Chopra, Nadkarni, and Drury report that in India the corm is stomachic and tonic; used in piles and given as a restorative in dyspepsia, debility, etc. It is a hot carminative in the form of a pickle. The root is used for boils and ophthalmia and also as an emmenagogue. Dey also reports its use in haemorrhoids. Kirtikar and Basu say the corm relieves the pain of rheumatic swellings when applied externally. When fresh it acts as an acrid stimulant and expectorant and is used in acute rheumatism. Dutt states that the tubers are considered serviceable in haemorrhoids.

Bureau of Plant Industry, DA

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