This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(old Greek substantive name). Araceae. Perennial herbs with cordate-peltate leaves, which are often handsomely colored in cultivation; grown under glass, and one of the forms much used for planting out when large-leaved tropical effects are desired; also grown for the edible tubers.
Plants tuberous or with an erect caudex: If. - blades peltate, ovate or sagittate-cordate, basal lobes rounded: blade of spathe 2-5 times longer than tube; spadix shorter than spathe, terminating in a club-shaped or subulate appendage destitute of stamens. Differs from Alocasia and Caladium in floral characters-Species 5. Tropics.
Colocasia includes the plants known as Caladium esculentum, which are much grown for subtropical bedding. C. odorata (which is an Alocasia) has very large, thick stems, which may be wintered over safely without leaves, or at most with one or two, the stems, to save space, being placed close together in boxes. C. esculenta rests during the winter and is kept under a greenhouse bench or anywhere out of the reach of frost or damp. All of the tall-growing colo-casias are of the easiest culture. As they are very rank-growing plants they are not much grown in green houses, but are chiefly planted out-of-doors for summer display. They do best in damp rich soil. The dwarf species and forms are suited for pot growth, but little is seen of them except in public gardens. Consult Caladium for further treatment. (G.W Oliver.)
Colocasias furnish the much-cultivated taro of the Pacific tropics, this edible product being the large starchy roots. From it is made the poi of Hawaii. In Japan and other countries the tubers of colocasias are much cultivated, and are handled and eaten much as we use potatoes (see Georgeson, A. G. 13:81). The young leaves of some kinds are boiled and eaten. The dasheen is of the same group. It has been recently introduced from tropical America, and is receiving considerable attention for cultivation in the South. The tubers may also be forced for the tender shoots. Cf. Bull. 164 Bur. Plant Ind. U. S. Dept. Agric. (1910), and subsequent publications of Off. Foreign Seed and PI. introduced
Schott. Leaves peltate-ovate; basal lobes half as long as the apical one, connate two-thirds to three-fourths their length, separated by a broad, triangular, obtusish sinus. India. B.M. 7364.
Variety euchlora, Schott (C. euchlora, C. Koch). Petioles violet; blade black-green, with violet margins.
Variety Fontanesii, Schott (Alocasia violdcea, Hort. Caladium violdceum, Hort. C. albo-violaceum, Hort.?). Petioles violet; blade dull green, with violet margins. B.M. 7732. - Multiplies rapidly by whip-like runners and grows well in shallow water.
Variety illustris, Engler (C. illustris, Hort.). Black Caladium. Petioles violet; blade more oblong-ovate, with black-green spots between the primary veins. F.M., 1874:107. - Very beautiful in masses, but flowers have offensive odor.
Variety esculenta, Schott (Caladium esculentum, Vent. Colocasia esculenta, Schott). Elephant's Ear. Fig. 1034. Spadix with an appendage half as long as the staminate infloresence: leaves bright green, often 3 ft. or more long, nearly as wide. Hawaii and Fiji. G. 2:62, 571; 7:44.
Fig. 1034. Colocasia antiquorum variety esculenta. (Caladium esculentum).
Schott. Blade thin, membranaceous, rounded-ovate or ovate, the apical lobe scarcely a fourth or a third longer than wide; basal lobes connate nearly their entire length, bright green above, glaucous beneath; blade only 4-6 in. long. Himalaya. - Not hardy in Cent. Fla.
Variety Jenningsii, Engler (Alocasia Jenningsii, Veitch). Petiole purplish, with transverse purple lines; blade cordate, emarginate, with large, oblong or triangular black-green or black-violet spots between the primary lateral veins. I.H. 16:585. F.S. 17:1818-19. -Not hardy in Cent. Fla.
neo-guineensis, Andre. Remarkable for its tufted habit, the shortness of the leaf - stalks, its short-stalked infloresence, and the beautiful green tone of its smooth and shiny leaves, spotted with creamy white. New Guinea. I.H. 27:380.
Marchallii, Engler (Alocasia Mdrchallii, Hort. A. hybrida, Bull). Hybrid, probably of C. affinis and C. antiquorum. Larger in all parts than C. affinis, the petioles pale green, very slightly emarginate, with large, confluent spots.
C. bataviensis=Alocasia bataviensis(?). - C. Caracasana, Engler =Xanthosoma. - C. javanica, Hort.=(?). - C. Mafaffa, Hort.= Xanthosoma. - C. marginata, Hort. =Caladium bicolor. - C. monor-rhiza, Hort.=(?). - C. odora. Brongn.=Alocasia odora, Koch. Treelike, the stem or caudex 3-6 ft. and 6 in. diam.: leaves green, cordate, stalked, bearing peduncles in pairs in their axils. E. Asia. B.M. 3935. - -C. odorata, Hort. = Alocasia macrorrhiza.
George V. Nash.†