A genus of tuberous-rooted Aroids from Tropical America, remarkable for their broadly arrow-shaped leaves of membranous texture, often brightly coloured and veined, and varying in size from a few inches long to a couple of feet. The colours also vary from almost pure white to deep crimson, purple, bronze, pink, etc, the leaves in many instances being conspicuously blotched and marbled with quite distinct colours. The plants are easily grown in a stovehouse, and like abundance of water during growth. A compost of turfy loam, leaf mould, or peat, or old cow manure and silver sand in equal proportions, and well mixed, suits them perfectly. When growth is over, the tubers are rested in a temperature not below 60° or 70° F. The natural species are rarely seen, being eclipsed in beauty by the many lovely hybrids that have been raised, and said to number over 2000. The best-known species is argyrites, which is largely grown on account of its comparative hardiness. C. es-culenta (Colocasia), from the Sandwich Islands, is now used for subtropical bedding in summer with a closely related plant - Colocasia antiquorum - both having large oval heart-shaped leaves. Caladiums are raised from suckers, seeds, and by division of the tubers (fig. 270).


Fig. 270. - Caladium.