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Useful Tropical Plants

Alocasia macrorrhizos

(L.) G.Don

Araceae

+ Synonyms

Alocasia cordifolia (Bory) Cordem.

Alocasia gigas Chantrier ex André

Alocasia grandis N.E.Br.

Alocasia indica (Lour.) Spach.

Alocasia marginata N.E.Br.

Alocasia metallica Schott

Alocasia montana (Roxb.) Schott

Alocasia pallida K.Koch & C.D.Bouché

Alocasia plumbea Van Houtte

Alocasia rapiformis (Roxb.) Schott

Alocasia uhinkii Engl. & K.Krause

Alocasia variegata K.Koch & C.D.Bouché

Arum cordifolium Bory

Arum indicum Lour.

Arum macrorhizum L.

Arum montanum Roxb.

Arum mucronatum Lam.

Arum peregrinum L.

Arum rapiforme Roxb.

Caladium indicum K.Koch

Caladium macrorrhizon (L.) R.Br.

Caladium metallicum Engl.

Caladium odoratum Lodd.

Caladium plumbeum K.Koch

Calla badian Blanco

Calla maxima Blanco

Calocasia indica (Lour.) Kunth

Colocasia boryi Kunth

Colocasia macrorrhizos (L.) Schott

Colocasia montana (Roxb.) Kunth

Colocasia mucronata (Lam.) Kunth

Colocasia peregrina (L.) Raf.

Colocasia rapiformis (Roxb.) Kunth

Philodendron peregrinum (L.) Kunth

Philodendron punctatum Kunth

Common Name: Giant Taro

Alocasia macrorrhizos
Cultivated plant in the Botanical Garden KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany
Photograph by: H. Zell
Creative Commons License
Alocasia macrorrhizos Alocasia macrorrhizos Alocasia macrorrhizos Alocasia macrorrhizos Alocasia macrorrhizos

General Information

Alocasia macrorrhizos is a large, evergreen, herbaceous perennial plant, usually growing 2 - 4 metres tall, occasionally to 5 metres. It has thickened stems that can be 3 metres or more in height and 20cm in diameter, topped with leaves up to 1 metre long[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The plant is cultivated in some parts of lowland tropical Asia, mainly for the edible stems but also for the corm[
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 sometimes grown as an ornamental, valued especially for its large leaves and inflorescence.

Known Hazards

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[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

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 - Indian subcontinent, Malaysia, widely naturalized in many other tropical and subtropical areas.

Habitat

Common along river banks and other damp places from sea-level to 500 metres[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
]. Cultivated lands, waste places, old gardens, mesic valleys, low moist disturbed and secondary forests, along riverbanks and streams from sea level to 800 metres[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height3.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Alocasia macrorrhizos is a plant of the higher-rainfall areas of the lowland tropics, where it is cultivated at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 25°c, but can tolerate 10 - 32°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,500 - 3,500mm, but tolerates 2,000 - 4,200mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Grows best in a position in some shade, but tolerant of full sun and of deep shade[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
,
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
]. Prefers a well-drained, humus-rich, fertile loam, though it is tolerant of a wide range of soil types from sands to heavy clays[
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.
,
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
]. Dislikes water-logged 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.
]. Plants can tolerate a dry season of up to 4 months[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.7 - 6.3, tolerating 5 - 7.3[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Alocasia macrorrhizos has been intentionally introduced in many tropical and subtropical regions to be used as an ornamental and a food crop. It has the capability to reproductive sexually by seeds and vegetatively by corms, tubers, and root suckers, and it is able grow in a great variety of substrates and habitats ranging from full sun to deep shaded areas. It is listed as invasive in Cuba, New Zealand, and several islands in the Pacific, and it is considered to be a weed in Vietnam[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
]
Plants take from 400 - 600 days to mature, but the stems can then remain in a suitable condition for a considerable time[
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.
].
Whilst many forms of this plant contain calcium oxalate crystals (see notes above on toxicity), cultivars have been developed in India that do not contain oxalates[
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.
].
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[
472
Title
Aroids: Plants of the Arum Family.
Publication
 
Author
Bown D.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-485-7
Description
An excellent treatment of the family Araceae, giving lots of information about the plants, how to grow them, their uses etc. I found it a bit disordered - if you want all the information on a specific species you have to trawl through the whole book.
].

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.
]. The corm needs to be thoroughly cooked before being eaten in order to destroy the calcium oxalate crystals[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When prepared for consumption in Guam, a stick is thrust into the tuber to avoid touching the plant - the tuber is then peeled, sliced, soaked and boiled with coconut milk in order to produce an edible starch food[
354
Title
Plants of Guam
Publication
 
Author
Moore P.H. & McMakin P.
Website
http://university.uog.edu/cals/people/POG/scipn.htm
Publisher
University of Guam.
Year
1979
ISBN
 
Description
Brief details, usually with a photo, of plants native to the island of Guam, often together with some information on their uses. An online version is available.
],.

Stems - 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.
]. The basal part of the stem, which can be up to 1 metre tall and 20cm in diameter, is peeled and used as a cooked 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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It can be added to soups and stews[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. A very easily digested starch can be obtained from the stem[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

The leaves and stalks of some cultivars are edible[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Medicinal

Giant taro is often used in traditional medicine in regions where the plant is cultivated as a food crop. All parts of the plant are used[
283
Title
Medicinal Plants in Vietnam
Publication
 
Author
Nguyen Van Dan & Doan Thi Nhu
Publisher
World Health Organisation
Year
1989
ISBN
92 9061 101 4
Description
An excellent book, giving information on over 200 plants, their medicinal compounds and applications.
,
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
].

The sap of the stem is used to treat earache or boils in the ear[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
]. Applied externally, it is used to treat cuts[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
]. In New Guinea, headaches are treated with the sap and the leaves[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
].

The leaves are said to be antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, antidiarrheal, and antiprotozoal.
The leaves and the rhizome are used in the treatment of impetigo, furunculosis, phlegmon and snake·bite in the form of a liquid extract for administration by mouth, and their residue is used for poulticing. They are also used in treating colic and vomiting, in a daily dose of 10 to 20g of dried rhizome in the form of a decoction[
283
Title
Medicinal Plants in Vietnam
Publication
 
Author
Nguyen Van Dan & Doan Thi Nhu
Publisher
World Health Organisation
Year
1989
ISBN
92 9061 101 4
Description
An excellent book, giving information on over 200 plants, their medicinal compounds and applications.
].
The rhizome is used to make a plaster that is aplied topically and is said to be effective against furunculosis[
283
Title
Medicinal Plants in Vietnam
Publication
 
Author
Nguyen Van Dan & Doan Thi Nhu
Publisher
World Health Organisation
Year
1989
ISBN
92 9061 101 4
Description
An excellent book, giving information on over 200 plants, their medicinal compounds and applications.
].
Sexual insufficiency is treated by eating the leaves cooked in coconut milk[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
].

The roots are used to treat swollen lymph glands[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
].

The wood is used to treat stomach-ache and diarrhoea[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
].

The leaves and rhizomes are collected throughout the year. The leaves are used fresh. The rhizomes are boiled hard to reduce itching compounds, then sun·dried or heat·dried[
283
Title
Medicinal Plants in Vietnam
Publication
 
Author
Nguyen Van Dan & Doan Thi Nhu
Publisher
World Health Organisation
Year
1989
ISBN
92 9061 101 4
Description
An excellent book, giving information on over 200 plants, their medicinal compounds and applications.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant grows rapidly in wetland conditions and has a propensity to accumulate metal contaminants such as zinc. It shows promise for use in sewerage treatment beds[].

Other Uses

A fibre is said to be obtained from the plant[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe. Germinates best at 24c.
Division of the rootstock as the plant is coming into growth.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2022-11-26. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Alocasia+macrorrhizos>

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