Plant of the Week

Alocasia Macrorrhiza

Giant Elephant's Ear, Cunjevoi, Giant Taro

This rhizomatous clump forming perennial has a stout dark green trunk with long stalked large glossy green arrow-shaped leaves. Throughout the year yellow-green spathes are produced followed by poisonous red fruit. 


Alocasia macrorrhiza (L.) G. Don, is thought to be endemic from India to Sri Lanka and Malaysia but has been widely cultivated in tropical regions and the true origin is unclear. It grows in the understory of tropical forests along water courses and around swamps, from sea level to an altitude of 1,000 m (3,280 ft). It prefers a well drained to boggy fertile deep moist sandy to light clay loam that is rich and organic with a pH range from 6.0 to 7.5. It grows in a shaded to semi-shaded wind protected hot humid position and is drought and frost tender with a preferred minimum winter temperature of 15ºC (60ºF).


The Giant Elephant's Ear is grown for its large glossy green foliage and its clumping habit. It is planted in gardens around water features or in gullies for a tropical effect. It is also cultivated in large pots or planter boxes and in cold regions it is placed in a heated glasshouse or planted out in spring as an annual. It is harder than the other species in the genus, tolerating a warm temperate climate that is frost free and has a vigorous growth rate establishing from division in 1 to 2 years. In its native region it is cultivated for its edible rhizomes and shoots after being cooked. Once established it has a high water requirement (Scale: 3-drops from 3), preferring to have reliable moist organic rich soil for optimum growth and misting to increase humidity. 

I.D. 1323

UK hardiness zone H1a

Climate zones H1, H2, 22-24

USDA Zone 9-11


Alocasia (a-loh-KAY-see-uh)  macrorrhiza (mak-roh-RY-zos)



Genus: - Greek - Alocasia – from ‘a’ meaning (without) and ‘Colocasia’ derived from a closely allied genus

Species:-Latin macrorrhiza – from ‘macro’ meaning (large) and ‘rrhiza’ meaning (root) referring to the plant rhizomes


Note: the botanic name Alocasia macrorrhiza is listed in the RHS as the correct name, but other sources spell the species name as macrorrhizos.




This plant has leaves that are blotched and mottled in white. It normally is smaller than the species and is used as a contrast foliage plant

India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia

Personal note; I have this plant growing in my garden and I placed in a position where it can not escape and it has grown super large and looks just great. This is a strong vigorous plant that requires semi shade and ample water. It grows well in Sydney with its mild climate.

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