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Useful Tropical Plants

Cyrtosperma merkusii

(Hassk.) Schott

Araceae

+ Synonyms

Cyrtosperma chamissonis (Schott) Merr.

Cyrtosperma edule Schott

Common Name: Swamp Taro

Cyrtosperma merkusii
Plant growing in native habitat
Photograph by: loupok
Creative Commons License
Cyrtosperma merkusii Cyrtosperma merkusii Cyrtosperma merkusii Cyrtosperma merkusii Cyrtosperma merkusii

General Information

Swamp taro is a giant herbaceous perennial plant with typically 6 - 8 huge leaves arising from a short subterranean stem. The leaf blades are arrow shaped, 1 - 2 metres in length, and are borne on stout petioles, 1 - 2 metres long[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
]. A mature plant may reach 3 - 4 metres tall[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
].
Swamp taro is believed to be the largest plant in the world which produces edible corms[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
]. The plant is a staple food in some areas of Asia and the Pacific, where it is commonly cultivated for its corms, which provide a rich source of carbohydrate[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
]

Known Hazards

The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten, but they are easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water[
65
Title
A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Frohne. D. and Pfänder. J.
Publisher
Wolfe
Year
1984
ISBN
0723408394
Description
Brilliant. Goes into technical details but in a very readable way. The best work on the subject that I've come across so far.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

E. Asia - Malaysia, S.W. Pacific.

Habitat

Not known

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height4.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of tropical lowlands. Areas of high rainfall and humidity are required for the best yields[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
Requires a moist, shady position sheltered from the wind, succeeding in a wide range of soils[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
,
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
]. Ideal growing conditions are natural swamp land rich in humus, covered with 20 - 70cm of slow running (or irrigation) water[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
]. The plant is often grown in coastal swamps just inland of mangrove swamps[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
]. Tolerates brackish conditions[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
Yields of 10 tonnes per hectare have been recorded[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].
It is generally considered that the plant requires 2 - 3 years in order to produce a reasonably-sized tuber[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
]. Younger than this, the tubers of some cultivars are reported to have an unpleasant taste, although on the Pingelap Attoll, Caroline Islands, some early-maturing types are harvested after about one year[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
]. Some authorities, however, consider that for optimum results as regards flavour and yield, the crop should be harvested when the plants are 5 - 6 years old[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
].
There are some named varieties[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
].

Edible Uses

Corm - cooked[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
]. Roasted, steamed or boiled[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
]. The corms are also mashed into a dough, which is kneaded and left to ferment before being baked in an oven[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. Mature corms are produced in three years, they can reach 1 metre long and 60cm in diameter and weigh up to 80kg[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
]. The stem thickens rapidly at the base becoming a large corm, varying in shape from cylindrical to conical or almost spherical. The size varies with cultivar and age; 15 - 25 kg is common, but it can weigh up to 90 kg or more in a 10 year old plant[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
]. Although corms of 10 years old or more may be very large and weigh 100 kg or more, requiring two or three men to carry them, they are fibrous and not suitable for eating, though in certain circumstances such corms have a considerable prestige value[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity.

Leaves and inflorescence - cooked and used as a vegetable[
300
Title
Vegetables in the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Tindall. H. D.
Publisher
MacMillan, Oxford.
Year
1983
ISBN
0-333-24268-8
Description
An excellent, in-depth look at the main vegetable crops that can be grown in the Tropics, plus many less well-known plants.
]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal

A decoction of the flower cluster is used as an emmenagogue and embolic[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed -
Division of suckers. Cormels, which send up leaves and develop into suckers, are produced as side shoots on the parent corm after about three years[
429
Title
Root Crops
Publication
 
Author
Kay. D.E. Revised by Gooding. E.G.B.
Publisher
Tropical Development and Crop Research: London.
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on about 40 species of tropical root crops.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-12-16. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Cyrtosperma+merkusii>

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