This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In the October number a correspondent from Texas writes that he was unable to find this plant growing wild on the Brazos River, etc.; thus somewhat refuting the fact of its being naturalized in that State. I think it may be of some interest to the many readers of the Gardener's Monthly to be informed that this species is quite frequently found in that State on the San Antonio River, in the vicinity of San Antonio City, where I was a resident for sixteen years. In this locality, the Caladium esculentum is commonly called the " Sandwich Potato," but eaten only by some out of mere curiosity, and who declare them to be excellent for culinary use; according to an article in the January number, it appears to be a plant that combines both beauty and usefulness, something not often met with among those plants used so extensively for ornamental planting. I never saw it cultivated for any purpose in the section of the State in question, except the few that were planted in our garden, along a ditch, for ornament.
These, as well as the wild-growing ones, never attain the size and magnificence of foliage they do here, - and that almost anywhere where planted; while in that part of Texas they must be planted close to a stream, so that a portion of the roots may be in constant contact with the water. In this position they are found along the San Antonio River, at least in the neighborhood of its source. I have traveled other parts of this river days in succession, and did not find a single specimen, but this cannot serve as a proof that they are not abundant elsewhere; for I can mention the same fact about the Age-ratum Mexicanum, of which I am positive it is a true native of that State, but I never met with it so frequently as I did the Caladium esculentum. I made the same observation as the writer of the article mentioned above, that the Caladium does not produce ripe seed. The flower is white, of the same form, but less than half the size of the Calla Ethiopica, which it resembles in every other respect; but its stem does not reach above the foliage, so the flower is secreted among the leaves.
It is possible that the Caladium is a native of Texas; for about thirty years ago, when my father first settled at San Antonio, he found it there growing wild, and nowhere cultivated.
[There are many circumstances which make it very nearly certain that the Caladium is only an introduced plant. - Ed. G. M].