This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A most curious addition to our " Ornamental Foliaged Plants." Was introduced from China by Mr. Riviere, the head gardener of the Luxembourg garden in Paris. The plant has several peculiar characteristics of growth. From the tuber shoots up a thick stem, two to four feet in height, which throws out a single extraordinary palmate leaf from two to three feet in diameter; this is divided into three principal lobes or divisions, each of which is cut and subdivided. The leaf stalk is very robust, dark green, and spotted with purple, and bears at its summit the blade, which is of a fine deep green, and so singular in its appearance that most persons take it for a cluster of leaves rather than a single one. Planted by itself upon the lawn, the plant is sure to attract attention, if from no other merit than its very oddity of habit. The plant has a flower similar to that of the Arum, and its odor is decidedly disagreeable; it should be cut away before it develops. Among plants for the garden or lawn ornament, it will be found a fitting companion to the Caladium esculentum.
The plant thrives in any good garden soil, and is even suitable for the parlor and conservatory.