Alocasia is a genus of about 70 species in the Araceae family. These rhizomatous or bulbous perennials occur in tropical humid climates of southeast Asia and a few other places. They are grown as ornamentals for their large heart-shaped or arrowhead-shaped leaves, sometimes called African Masks or Elephant's Ears. These plants are variable in size, height, shape, and leaf color. Few are used as food, but the corms have to be boiled thoroughly to eliminate calcium oxalate crystals.
During the COVID19 pandemic, Alocasias have been among the species that came in fashion as house plants and collectors objects, with certain special forms and variegation patterns reaching prizes reminiscent of the infamous Tulip mania of 1636.
Alocasia macrorrhiza has huge, glossy, green leaves with raised veins and when mature it forms a woody trunk. It grows well in full sun to part shade and average to moist soils. Photos taken August 2007 by Jay Yourch.
Alocasia macrorrhiza 'Lutea' is a selection with yellow petioles and leaf veins. Photo taken August 2007 by Jay Yourch.
Alocasia × amazonica has glossy, very dark green, leaves with silvery veins and undulating margins, giving them a bat wing quality. It's a hybrid of A. lowii var. grandis × A. sanderiana. Photos taken May 2007 by Jay Yourch.