Alocasia

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Alocasia
P Alom D9903.jpg
Alocasia macrorrhizos
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Colocasieae
Genus: Alocasia
(Schott) G.Don
Type species
Alocasia cucullata
Alocasia distribution.svg
Range of the genus Alocasia.
Synonyms[1]
  • Ensolenanthe Schott
  • Schizocasia Schott
  • Xenophya Schott
  • Panzhuyuia Z.Y.Zhu

Alocasia is a genus of broad-leaved rhizomatous or tuberous perennial flowering plants from the family Araceae. There are 79 species [2] native to tropical and subtropical Asia to Eastern Australia, and widely cultivated elsewhere.

Description[edit]

The large cordate or sagittate leaves grow to a length of 20 to 90 cm on long petioles. Their araceous flowers grow at the end of a short stalk, but are not conspicuous; often hidden behind the leaf petioles.

The corms of some species can be processed to make them edible, but the raw plants contain raphid or raphide crystals of calcium oxalate along with other irritants (possibly including proteases)[3] that can numb and swell the tongue and pharynx; they cause difficulty in breathing, and sharp pain in the throat. The lower parts of the plant contain the highest concentrations of the poison. Prolonged boiling before serving or processing may reduce the risks, and acidic fruit such as tamarind may dissolve the raphides. However the species vary in toxicity, and it is dangerous to experiment with the edibility of any Alocasia.

Cultivation[edit]

Alocasia are tropical plants that are increasingly becoming popular as houseplants.[4] The hybrid A. × amazonica has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[5] They are typically grown as pot plants, but a better way is to grow the plants permanently in the controlled conditions of a greenhouse. They do not do well in the dark and need good lighting if inside the house. They should be cared for as any other tropical plant with weekly cleaning of the leaves and frequent fine water misting without leaving the plants wet.

They rarely survive cold winters or the dryness of artificial heating, but an attempt to slowly acclimatize plants from the summer garden to the house can help.[6] Once inside, the watering period must be reduced and the plants should be protected from spider mites or red spider attack.

Species[edit]

The following are the accepted species classified under Alocasia along with their common names (where available) and distribution ranges:

Giant taro or ape flower (Alocasia macrorrhizos).
A wild specimen of the kris plant (Alocasia sanderiana).

Nothospecies[edit]

The following list is incomplete.

The following are hybrid species in the genus Alocasia:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ "WCSP". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Archived from the original on 30 June 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
  3. ^ Bradbury, J. Howard; Nixon, Roger W. (1998). "The acridity of raphides from the edible aroids". Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 76 (4): 608–616. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0010(199804)76:4<608::AID-JSFA996>3.0.CO;2-2.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Alocasia Amazonica (not a species), Alocasia x amazonica, Alocasia mortefontanensis André, Alocasia Poly, not 'Polly', Exotic Rainforest rare tropical plants
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - ''Alocasia × amazonica". Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  6. ^ Nature Assassin: Overwintering your Alocasia
  7. ^ Nguyen, V. D.; Croat, T. B.; Luu, H. T.; Lee, C. Y.; Lee, J.; De Kok, R. (2013). "Two new species of Alocasia (Araceae, Colocasieae) from Vietnam". Willdenowia - Annals of the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem. 43 (2): 293. doi:10.3372/wi.43.43209.
  8. ^ Alocasia ×mortfontanensis, World Checklist of Selected Plant Families [1]
  9. ^ Alocasia ×amazonica hort., nom. inval. , U.S. National Plant Germplasm System [2]