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

Sean A. O'Hara saouc at uccmvsa.ucop.edu
Wed Oct 8 13:48:42 EST 1997

Hi David -

I'm very curious about Colocasia gigantea - I can find it mentioned
on the AROID-L group but without any description.

I am certainly one to agree that these plants are very hard to figure
out - many of them can only be truely id'ed when in flower, and even
then. . .  I no longer have Juan's photo (perhaps Juan can resend it
to me directly - to my <sao at dla.ucop.edu> account which can handle
attached graphics files?), but I recall distinctly the 'sinus' of
the leaf (I hope I am using this term correctly).  This is the area
at which the leaf attaches to the stem - in Jaun's photo, I recall
that there was a slight 'web' span between the two anterior lobes,
creating a 'peltate' attachment though the leaf was otherwise the
same as all of these 'elephant ear' types of aroids.  This area is
often one of the best was to identify species.  I have a plant
sitting in front of me now, from a knowledgeable AROID-L person who
lives not far from me here in California.  It is Alocasia gageana, and
it appears to be identical to what I recall about Juan's plant.  I can
verify this if he'll resend that photo.  I don't really know what the
real distinction between Alocasia and Colocasia is - perhaps it is
primarily in the flower structures (which we don't have).

Anyhow - not really arguing - I just can resist trying to figure these
things out.
 Sean A. O'Hara                     sean.ohara at ucop.edu
 710 Jean Street                    (510) 987-0577
 Oakland, California 94610-1459     h o r t u l u s   a p t u s
 U.S.A.                             'a garden suited to its purpose'
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In Article Re: What plant is it?-its an Alocasia...or is it?,
David Poole <dave-poole at ilsham.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> On Thu,  2 Oct 97 Sean 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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