Lately it seems my Alocasias are really taking off. While many of them don't like direct sun, they sure do like the heat! Some of my Alocasias kind of died back over the winter, but they have reemerged with new offsets after their dormancy. First, I give you my Alocasia amazonica, also known as African Shield. I like to call it the "pterodactyl plant" and I'm not sure why everyone else doesn't do the same. This plant I have had for 2.5 years. I know, because I blogged when I bought it (the second time).
Next, is Alocasia wentii, which is fairly new to me. I just got it last fall, before it stopped growing. It didn't go completely dormant, keeping one or two leaves through the winter, but it wasn't actively growing. Now it is putting out a new, glossy leaf and the coloring is really nice.
This next Alocasia is my favorite. I have had it for a couple of years. It was big and mature when I bought it, but it went through spider mite and mealy bug infestations and lost a lot of leaves. Now the original plant is doing pretty well and even has put out 4 offsets! I have an Alocasia gageana, a gift from Steve Lucas, which constantly produces new offsets, but my others have been much slower to do this. I'm looking forward to my little herd of Alocasia lauterbachiana.
Another "Alocasia" I got in the fall went completely dormant through the winter. I thought I had lost it. But I cut back on watering, so as not to rot out the bulb. Then I started watering again in the Spring and it has sprung to life! I got the plant through a trade labeled Alocasia 'Hilo Beauty', as it has been called for many years. It turns out the plant belongs in the Caladium genus and it is a true species, Caladium praetermissum. I don't really know how it ever got the name Hilo connected with it, unless a grower in Hawaii started distributing it first. Maybe someone just decided it looked like something that would grow in Hawaii... Apparently the incorrect name started with Graf's Exotica, a book which is well known as a source of wonderful pictures and outdated names.
Anyway, it is not surprising that this plant's genus was misappropriated for many years. The Caladium, Alocasia, Colocasia, and Xanthosoma genera are the most often confused in the aroid family, as I've mentioned before. Many people avoid this confusion by calling them all "elephant ears." Score 1 for common names.
The final plant is Alocasia aurora (Alocasia 'Pink Stem'). This one, as you can tell by that second name, has a very distinct pink petiole. This one also has a new pup forming.
|Alocasia lauterbachiana offsets|
|Alocasia 'Hilo Beauty'|