Search This Blog

My Vertical Garden Wall

My Vertical Garden Wall


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Black Stem Alocasia / Black Stem Macrorrhiza.


I would say this is fairly 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 few 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. This particular plant may be mistaken for a yam, this one is not edible.
Also known as Black Stem Macrorrhiza.

It does have many similarities with a Macrorhiza - however the special feature are the black coloration in appearance at the petiole and the veins that appears at the back of the foliage.

I find that it is a little bit inadequate to identify this particular one as a Black Stem Alocasia when there are hundreds of varieties and hybrids together with some native species which is particularly almost having a lookalike and with most websites gives only one or two pictures for comparison and even with that - it is difficult to determine which is which.


The most basic easy identification is the strong sugar cane like purple colored stem (which is not really a true black coal kind of color) The color extends right up to the foliage veins as the leaves unfurls upwards pointing forward revealing the stem and the coloration veins first before fully opens.

I find this characteristics is somehow unique - sort of lance forward and open up. Each new leaf overlap from the crown and push forward bigger and wider from the older leaves.

Also there appears to be a variegated type on this particular species which is highly sought after - although considered rare and expensive, it can be slow growing and the variegation may be unstable which may revert back to fully green depending on the growing conditions.

Unlike Jewel Alocasia counterparts - this one loves sun and rain. They don't do well in shaded area but may able to tolerate and grow eventually - however I noticed that the leaves looked floppy and not healthy looking and was open for spider-mites and mealybug attack.

I immediately reset it - trimming off all the affected leaves and replanted the tuber in open direct sun and rain and the plant jumpstart with more healthier appearance - bounced back in resilience and vigor.

These I believe needs full sun for it to grow well and becomes stressed - with that release pheromones that attracts pests especially spider-mites and mealybugs. I understand the scale insect too get attracted to them however the sun & rain seemed to deter all of that on them.

Other than that, the similarities of Care & Cultivation is very much similar with a Colocasia species. I had some doubts whether if this can do in a bog like condition where they can be water bound. I had tried few times placing them in a water contained medium and it had rotten away - unlike Colocasia Black Magic & Black Ripple - I'm really not sure if they can handle wet feet.

Other than that - it is fairly an easy plant to take care and actually require minimum care once the plant had established itself. Perhaps a monthly pruning of spend leaves and check and balance to see if all doing fine with weekly light fertilizing - I for one don't put any as I don't intend it to overgrow the pot it is sitting now.

Propagation is easy with baby plantlets known as pups appearing from the side of the mother plant. Do take caution not to remove them too soon - just make sure there are minimum 4 leaves to begin with for their stability of the pup growth before separating from the mother plant.

Usually the pups are still connected with runners coming from the mother plant - however there are primary roots that had grown vigorously on the pup that can be easily removed, detach the pup with a clean scissors or sterile knife -  make a clean cut from the runner. Do not be tempted to snap it from bare hands as you can damage the pup or the mother plant accidentally. Worse if the cutters are infected with fungus or bacteria and may be fatal to the plant.

 There are some mentions about this particular one going dormant but I doubt does behave like that in a tropical region. Also I had not come across them in any abandoned roadside or in open areas - which I realized that this particular one is not the "wild" type which often propagated by the seedpod by birds or other vectors.   

I must say this Alocasia is slowly making a comeback with a vengeance where I notice that these were sold with cut-throat prices ranging to thousands - it may somehow, interest few wealthy collectors but I seriously doubt this is a rare plant and very easily propagated which can flood the market and plant price down. Just like any plant craze and trends which comes up and down - this is one of the plants that falls victim in that category.

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

No comments:

About Me

My photo
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.

Contact Me on the Form Above

Do put your queries on the contact form above and I will come back to you ASAP via e-mail. Also I'm open for any business / advertisement proposals / magazine articles / product sampling and sharing personal product experiences here in my blog. Also for specific plant queries where you need to send pictures for free consultation and plant help and aid.

Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Blog Archive

Popular Posts

Popular Post - 1 Month