Alocasia rugosa Schott
Arum cucullata Lour.
Caladium cucullata Pers.
Colocasia cucullata Schott
Colocasia rugosa Kunth
Common Name: Chinese Taro
Chinese taro is an evergreen herbaceous plant with large leaves that can be 40cm long[
The plant is occasionally used locally as a food source and medicine[
]. The plant is also sometimes cultivated as an ornamental[
All parts of the plant contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if hundreds of small needles are digging in to them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet[
E. Asia - southern China, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand.
Watersides, by fields, wild or cultivated at elevations below 2,000 metres in southern China[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Prefers a well-drained, humus-rich soil and a position in semi-shade.
Like many species in the family Araceae, this plant has the ability to heat the flowering spadix as the pollen becomes ready for fertilization. This heat greatly increases the strength of the aroma released by the plant, thus attracting more pollinating insects. It can also have the effect of making the insects more active, thus increasing the level of fertilization[
The corms are eaten in parts of India[
]. The corm must be well cooked in order to destroy calcium oxalate - see notes above on toxicity[
The plants are used externally for treatment of detoxification of viper bites, abscesses, rheumatism and arthritis[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe. Germinates best at 24c.
Division of the rootstock as the plant is coming into growth.
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