Interested lovers of indoor plants with alocasia can face an unexpected problem. The fact is that it will be very difficult to choose a suitable specimen, because alocasia is not a single plant, but a huge genus that unites almost eighty separate species.
Features and characteristics of alocacia
While the appearance and size of alocations of different species can differ significantly, all plants have common features. Such characteristics of alocasia include the structure of plants consisting of a short tuberous rhizome, a juicy stem and the presence of large decorative leaves fastened to the stem with the help of long petioles.
It is foliage, thanks to which alocacia is compared with African masks, spearheads, serrated swords, elephant ears and even a dragon’s skin, and causes the main interest of lovers of indoor plants.
How does alocasia flower?
If a connoisseur of plants of the family of aroids, ask how the alocacia blossom, it turns out that most species of inflorescence are completely unattractive.
In the warm season, when the alocations come in the period of active growth, flower buds appear from the leaf axils, which at first can easily be confused with a new leaf. But only the flower-bud begins to unfold and lengthen, it becomes clear that at its end is an inflorescence in the shape of an ear, wrapped in a dense perianth.
On one ear there are both male and female flowers. Depending on the type and variety and the inflorescence, and the bedspreads vary in color and size.
Most often, alocacia plants form white or yellowish cobs, and the perianth are colored in different shades of green. Alocasia flowers almost do not smell, except Odoka alocasia or fragrant, whose aroma resembles the smell of lily.
To the general characteristics of alocations of different species is the appearance and structure of the fruit. Orange or red berries are quite small, and even in the largest specimens in diameter do not exceed 1 centimeter. Under a thin skin in the juicy pulp is a number of light rounded seeds.
That’s only for the reproduction of alocacia plants such seeds are not always suitable.
The fact is that alocasia plants grown on windowsills and in greenhouses are often complex or interspecies hybrids, and their seeds are completely sterile or do not retain the properties of the mother plant. Therefore, when reproducing people from the distant tropics, it is easier to use vegetative methods, for example, root layers, stalk parts and daughter tubers.
The tuberous rhizomes of this amazing plant can be found not only in flower shops, but also on supermarket shelves in southern China, Japan, Singapore and other countries where alocasia grows.
Tubers of alocasia – a treat for gourmets
Although all parts of alocasia plants contain a calcium oxalate, toxic to humans, tubers and thick stems of individual species are widely used for food. Such varieties include coarse root or Indian alocasia, widespread in the subtropical and tropical regions of Asia, in particular in India, the Philippines and Vietnam.
If the pulp of the tuber or the herb of the alocasia plant gets on the mucous membranes and the human skin in its raw form, a strong burning sensation, a tangle, arises. Breathing becomes difficult, because of the pain and spasms, the swallowing process becomes more complicated.
But even such risks do not stop the local population from preparing from the roots of giant taro, as they are called large types of alocacia, nutritious dishes. Tubers of alocasia, sometimes reaching weights of 400-600 grams, are rich in sugars, starchy substances and vitamins. It is a good source of carbohydrates, fiber and minerals. Only to try a sweetish, nutty taste of taro can be after a long heat treatment.
To date, alocasia tubers are a valuable dietary product from which flour is made, adding it to traditional pastries, confectionery, beverages and even ice cream.
In the homeland of the alocacia, you can taste stewed and roasted tubers, of which soups and desserts are made.
At home, you can cook exotic chips. To do this, sliced thin slices of peeled tubers with a vegetable oil, a little podsalivayut and sent to the oven for 20 minutes. At a temperature of 180-200 ° C, the slices are well baked and become crispy.
When treating and cleaning the alocasia tubers, you should not forget about possible skin damage, so your hands are pre-lubricated with vegetable oil or work gloves.
The popularity of tubers among gourmets has led to the fact that in the homeland alocacia plants are cultivated as an agricultural crop.
Hybrid alocasia plants for enthusiastic flower growers
Alocasia is not only a source of valuable food raw materials, but also popular indoor plants. And here an important role is played by actively conducted selection work, which allows the growers to grow varieties and hybrids that are unseen in the wild.
The success achieved is indicated by such an interesting fact about alocasia, as the awarding of a special prize by the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain to the creators of the famous alocacia Amazonica, which is an interspecific hybrid.
Over the decades that have passed since the middle of the last century, breeders have made significant progress, and alocasia plants have appeared at the disposal of flower growers, combining signs of outwardly unlike varieties and species.
Thanks solely to the efforts of the scientists, the flower growers obtained a hybrid form of Alocasia cupredora, derived from the crossing of alocasia odora plants and Alocasia cuprea. The hybrid, known as the “Dark Purple Shield” or “Maroon Shield,” retained the color of the foliage inherent in copper alocacia, but the size and structure of the plant more closely resembles that of odora.
Plants alocasia portora are well known to flower growers under the commercial name portodora. A hybrid species is obtained from the crossing of Alocasia odora and Alocasia portei.
And besides surprisingly beautiful green plants, the breeders managed to grow specimens with maroon veins and petioles of leaves.
Sufficiently elegant alocacia plants of the Giant Zebra variety are obtained from the parent pair Alocasia macrorrhizos and Alocasia zebrine. In this case, for breeding, the breeders took the largest of the existing alocacia varieties of Indian. This alocacia Borneo Giant, whose leaves are longer than 120 cm.
In Borneo, where the alocacia of this giant variety grows, plants are a tourist attraction and gather around them a lot of tourists.
From the parent couple the new alocacia plant of the variety “Giant Zebra” got variegated petioles with a slightly blurred dark pattern and sharpened leaves, like the alocasia of zebrin. In general, the variety is quite large and looks great in spacious rooms and greenhouses.
While the above described are quite large species and varieties, on the part of growers there is a great interest in miniature alocations, suitable for growing at home.
The uniqueness of alocacia microdora plants is that it is the tiniest specimen in the world. The hybrid, worthy of entering the Guinness Book of Records, is not yet available in flower shops, but scientists hope that soon the species will stabilize and become commercial.
Alocasia sanderidora is the result of crossing the alocacia plants Sanderiana “Nobilis” and alocacia odorous. Descendants of known species preserved the arrow-shaped form of foliage, but its color became softer. The petioles acquired a brownish hue, and the size, compared with the alocasia of the odor, markedly decreased.
Presented in the photo, alocacia morocco has already become available to flower growers and occupies decent places in home collections. Best of all, this alocasia grows in warm, moist air. A small winter rest period is required for the crop, when the plant is almost not watered and kept in the dark. Summer can not do without frequent watering, light and food.
Effective plants alocasia princeps varieties “Purple Cloak” or “Purple Cloak” are distinguished by dark triangular leaves with a purple back side and a slightly wavy edge.
The height of the plant is 50-80 cm. Therefore, in a room where alocasia of this species grows, the plant is looked for, which is illuminated but protected from hot rays, a worthy place.
Alocasia plants, named after the famous enthusiast of this culture and the creator of many hybrid species of Brian Ulyams, are obtained from the crossing of Alocasia macrorrhiza and Alocasia Amazonica. Hybrid alocasia Williams Hybrid is quite cold, hardy and strong. She will find a place in spacious rooms, and in a conservatory conservatory.
The leaves in the form of an African mask have a dark green color, wavy edges and bright, prominent veins. The back of the new hybrid has retained a lilac shade, but the size of the plant is larger than that of the alocacia of the Amazon.
This alokazia infernalis varieties “Kapit”, recognized as the darkest variety among indoor plants of this kind. The foliage of the plant with the thyroid form and metallic gloss resembles the species cuprea and clypeolata, but differs dense purplish-black, tinge, conserved and part of petioles.
Many small alocacia species, like this plant of the “Kapit” variety, prefer a loose structured soil in which perlite or crushed bark can be added.
Alocasia maharani Variegata is the pearl of any collection of tropical plants! Moreover, the foliage of this species is very thick, structured and has an unusual leathery texture, the breeders managed to fix a mutation that led to bright spots on alocacia plants.
The leaves of this alocacia plant are most reminiscent of marine stingrays, so the variety was named “Stingray”. The natural mutation that appeared in nature was observed and fixed by breeders. As a result, the florists received a unique variety with “tail” green leaves, effectively collected along the central vein.
Wherever the alocacia grows, in the wild or in a city apartment, these plants need a lot of moisture, warmth and dim, but prolonged lighting. At home Alocasia plants often settle along the shores of water bodies, in humid lowlands and on chalky slopes, where after the rain streams of water flow down.
In this case, do not forget that stagnant moisture is destructive to the roots, and only by keeping balance and competently courting the tropical resident, you can long enjoy the health and beauty of the alocacia plant.