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Monday, May 11, 2020

Alocasia macrorrhizos / Alocasia macrorrhiza - Giant Taro


I would say this is very common plant here in this Southeast Asia Region. So common that it may considered like a weed rather than an ornamental plant. One of the setbacks is that this particular one is so prolific that it is considered a weed rather than anything.
Truth be told - this is one of the most common type of the Elephant Ear Plant found here - literally anywhere around the water-body like drain-side, puddle to the a slight road-side area between grass and fields. That's how common it is.

This particular plant may be mistaken for a yam, this one is not edible.
Also it's botanic name is synonym with Alocasia macrorrhiza


Alocasia macrorrhizos commonly known as Giant Taro or Upright Elephant Ears
However I must emphasize that this is NOT a Colocasia species where it is considered as a Taro (which is edible) 

This one unfortunately is NOT TARO and had caused poisoning over the confusion over the difference of the species - especially Alocasia contains the needle-shaped raphides (calcium oxalate crystals) in the plant cells.

Do note that all parts of this plant contains calcium oxalate crystals. where this substance is toxic if eaten fresh makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel like tiny needle pricking. 
However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant.
Do make sure you thoroughly identify the species if considering it as edible.

This Alocasia has a sturdy and firm foliage structure which can stand strong elements either strong wind and rain and the foliage rarely get damage unless its aged or withering. The coloration however are monotone - fully glossy green in nature. There are few slight variants on this particular one, some are the variegated types which does have cream or white splashes on the leaf surface - those are highly sought after as ornament plant.

There is another similar looking Alocasia known as Alocasia odora - appears almost the same when they are in saplings but once they reach maturity - these have a total different appearance, a notable feature is that this particular one has an upright standing foliage feature.

Care & Maintenance:

Considered fairly easy as this is a tropical hardy plant similar to most bog aquatic characteristics they do love water but can tolerate without them too.

Propagation: By Tuber Division.

When the tuber grows big, cut into several pieces and let it totally dry out for few days and plant it in a rich potting medium and observe for new growth. Once the plant-let sprout out 2-3 new leaves, transfer into a separate pot and let it allow to grow more freely with root space.

Also this plant do give out new plant sprouting from it side which can be easily removed and replanted separately.

Plant Care:

Light: Bright Indirect Sun Area to Semi Shade Area.
They can be grown on direct sun but requires a swampy condition - loves wet feet areas.

They love over watering and can also tolerate dry conditions but won't grow bigger than usual in dry conditions.

General Plant Feeding Care - not too particular as this is not a sensitive plant

Spider mites might be found at underside of leaves.

Do note where the stem joins the leaf structure. 
As you can see - the leaf form like a "V" shape at the edge where there is no extra foliage connection.

This is the actual difference of the Alocasia Macrorhizos feature in comparison to Odora.

This is the underside of the foliage. 
The veins are thicker and visible at the backside of the foliage.

This is currently found growing by the roadside - uncared and abandoned 
Also this is rarely cultivated due to the nature where it is considered a weed -  wild version.

The variegated version are very much cultivated and highly prized especially the white or the yellow variety which are sold in nurseries. I would recommend to try to cultivate these for experience sake before trying out the variegated version - just to get the feel of it.

Do click to the Link Below 

To check on the Main Page Concerning Different Types of Elephant Ears Alocasia:
Different Types of Alocasia - Names & Images

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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