What plant is it?-its an Alocasia...or is it?

David Poole dave-poole at ilsham.demon.co.uk
Sat Oct 4 01:54:58 EST 1997

On Thu,  2 Oct 97Sean A. O'Hara  wrote re Juan's posting:

>Your plant is clearly an Alocasia, a tropical Aroid.  I'm not sure
>which species (possibly one like or with an affinity to A. odorata).
>I've learned about these plants from the Aroid-L e-mail discussion
>group, and I'm experimenting with growing a few out of doors here in
>the Mediterranean climate of California's San Francisco Bay Area.
>What part of Spain do you garden?  What are your interests?

Whilst Sean has this nailed as an Alocasia, I'm not so sure.  I grow
A. odora and have also had the somewhat similar A. macrorhiza in the
past and whilst there is undoubtedly a superficial resemblance of
Juan's plant to A. odora, it just doesn't look 'right' to me. The
image is of a juvenile plant and many of the tropical aroids can look
markedly similar in the early stages, but I'd put my money on it being
Colocasia gigantea (indica).  I first thought it might be C.
esculentea, but after looking several times, I've dropped that idea.
The latter has found it's way into the 'trade' in Europe on several
occasions and still pops up from time to time.

I grew  C. gigantea some years ago and remember it quite well.  As a
youngster, it was almost identical to Juan's plant, although it
quickly tried to outgrow it's allotted space, forming a substantial
specimen with somewhat thin, very large leaves.  The Alocasia is a
slightly 'harder' plant with glossy foliage whereas its cousin has a
slightly satiny sheen to the leaf surfaces.  At this stage I would
want to look at the texture of the leaf before being absolutely
certain and the image does not show enough leaves or detail for that.

David Poole

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