Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Alocasia vs Colocasia

I spotted this leafy mess from a distance, thinking that they most certainly were fake. The leaves were too glossy and perfect, just couldn’t be real. But they are! Aren’t they beautiful?
Tossed in the cart like they were, and parked in the corner of an emptying garden center, they look destined for an unhappy end. Unfortunately there was nobody around to ask about them. After some consideration I couldn’t think of where I would be able to put a big, floppy pair of plants anyway.
The tag identified them as Alocasia, for $19.99. This got me wondering about the difference between an Alocasia and a Colocasia, and I realized I had no idea. After a little internet research I found this tip: “There is one easy way to tell the difference between Alocasia and Colocasia. Alocasia has very thick leaves and the leaf tips always point up. Colocasia has very thin leaves and the leaf tips point down.” Ok the part about the thick and thin leaves definitely holds up, my Colocasia leaves are rather thin compared to these thick waxy leaves…the up/down part…not so sure. I also found this info: “the most important difference between the two is microscopic, found within the female flowers and generally (but not always) Colocasia has a partially peltate leaf blade, while Alocasia leaf blades can be any shape imaginable from entirely peltate to sagittate, to deeply pinnatifid”. Ok now I have to go research what the difference between peltate, sagittate, and pinnatifid is…


  1. If I remember my aroids properly this used to be called Alocasia Indica metalica, but now may be called a variety of Alocasia Plumbea.

  2. I want a bunch of both! Like you, I don't really have the place, but I love those plastic leaves!

    And just where are they treating those plants so shabbily?

  3. They look like they were destined for the compost bin out in a basket like that. I feel like they should be saved! If not for the garden, at least some leaves in a vase indoors.
    Pinnatifid is my new favorite word. I'm going to work it into a sentence tomorrow. Doesn't really matter if it makes any sense.

  4. Thanks Scott!

    Jane, hard to pass up huh? I know. They were at Fred Meyer, the Hollywood location. The nursery is practically empty these days and I never saw any of these for sale prior to seeing them in the cart. It was almost like they were just found in a box that had never been opened.

    Megan, I thought the same thing (compost) except someone had recently gone through and cut off all the dead leaves and left them in the bottom of the cart. The cart was pushed over behind the (closed) cash register. Odd, the whole thing is odd. So how did the fancy word go over? It's one of those fun ones that almost sounds like a naughty word.

  5. DG~~ Botany at its best. There is so much to learn. In my opinion Fred Meyer should have marked these down. It's the end of the season for gosh sakes. I think they'd look great in a water bowl or pond.

  6. Grace, I was a little surprised myself that they were still $19.99! I've made up a story that an employee took them home and they are going to flourish under his or her care.

  7. Maybe they were on hold for a movie being filmed in Portland, featuring tropical-looking plants and gorgeous actors saying sexy botanical words.

    I agree with Grace, $20 for sorry cart-bound plants is too spendy.

  8. I think you're right, I think some employee was rescuing these plants. I've heard people who work at nurseries do this all the time, take home the stuff that doesn't make the cut out in the yard. One of the perks.
    I forgot to use my new word, now it's today's word. This dog needs to be brushed, he's completely pinnatifid. I am just pinnatifid, I need a cup of coffee.

  9. I have several species of Calo/Alocasia. Very fun easy tropical plants that have such a striking appearance.

  10. I have heard that one is poisonous to eat the other is not


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