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Alocasia macrorrhizos (elephant ear taro)

Elephant ear taro is a massive aroid with a spectacular cluster of upwardly pointing, arrow-shaped leaf blades which can reach one metre in length.
Leaf of Alocasia macrorrhizos

Leaf of Alocasia macrorrhizos

Species information

Scientific name: 

Alocasia macrorrhizos (L.) G. Don

Common name: 

elephant ear taro, giant taro

Conservation status: 

Not of conservation concern.

Habitat: 

Tropical humid forest. Commonly found growing around human settlements.

Key Uses: 

Food, medicine, ornamental.

Known hazards: 

The rhizomes (swollen underground stems) contain stinging calcium oxalate crystals.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Lilianae
Order: 
Alismatales
Family: 
Araceae
Genus: Alocasia

About this species

Elephant ear taro is a giant plant with distinctive leaves and is valued as an ornamental. The swollen underground stems are used for food and animal fodder, and the roots and leaves are used medicinally in some countries. For example, in Hawaii, it has been used to treat digestive complaints, as a topical dressing for burns, and as a love charm. In the Philippines, the leaf stalks have been used to relieve toothache and on Java the roots and leaves have been used to relieve pain and redness. The rhizomes contain an anti-fungal protein called alocasin.

Genus: 
Alocasia

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