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 cuprea has silvery leaves with impressed dark veins, giving them the look of hammered metal. The backs of the leaves are a rich, reddish purple. Photos taken May 2007 by Jay Yourch.

Alocasia cuprea, Jay YourchAlocasia cuprea, Jay Yourch

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 foliage, Jay YourchAlocasia macrorrhiza trunk, Jay YourchAlocasia macrorrhiza, Jay Yourch

Alocasia macrorrhiza 'Lutea' is a selection with yellow petioles and leaf veins. Photo taken August 2007 by Jay Yourch.

Alocasia macrorrhiza 'Lutea', Jay Yourch

Alocasia rugosa is a small plant with stiff, dark green leaves that look and feel like plastic. Photos taken May 2007 by Jay Yourch.

Alocasia rugosa, May 2007, Jay YourchAlocasia rugosa, May 2007, Jay YourchAlocasia rugosa, August 2007, Jay Yourch


Alocasia 'Frydek' grows outdoors in a large pot and likes nitrogen and plenty of water. Photo by Arnold Trachtenberg

Alocasia 'Frydek', Arnold Trachtenberg

Alocasia 'Hilo Beauty' has variegated leaves splotched with light and dark green. Although commonly found under this genus, it might really be a Caladium. Photos taken September 2007 by Jay Yourch.

Alocasia 'Hilo Beauty', Jay YourchAlocasia 'Hilo Beauty', 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.

Alocasia × amazonica, Jay YourchAlocasia × amazonica flower, Jay Yourch

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