Giant Taro

Alocasia cf. macrorrhizos (Araceae)

Characteristics

Rhizomatous, evergreen, perennial herb, up to 4.5 m tall. Gigantic leaves (up to 180 x 120 cm), arrow-shaped at their bases and stand upright, pointing skyward (unlike the leaves of Colocasia which droop and point toward the ground). Flowers consist of a yellowish-green spathe and spadix. The plant performs best in part shade in organically rich, moist to wet soils.

Distribution

Native to the rainforests from Borneo (Malaysia) to Queensland (Australia). It has long been cultivated on many Pacific Islands and elsewhere in the tropics.

Natural Medical Properties

No known.

Did you know?

Giant taro” is closely related (same subfamily) to the root vegetable “Taro” (Colocasia esculenta, #107). “Giant taro” is edible when cooked for a long time.

The giant, heart-shaped leaves are used to drink from or make impromptu umbrellas and also to cover the food placed in Fijian ground ovens called “lovo”.

Further reading:

Literature

World Flora Online
WorldChecklist of Selected Plant Families
A working list of all plant species