Native to the Phillippines, this tender herbaceous perennial is a member of the arum family (Arceae) that also includes jack in the pulpit, skunk cabbage, caladium, and peace lily. Like other members of the family, the plant has an inflorescence that includes a spadix bearing many small flowers and is partially enclosed by a greenish leafy bract, called the spathe. Although the flowers are interesting, the plant is grown for the striking foliage that consists of narrow sagittate  leaves that are rich green above with conspicuously wavy margins and creamy white veins. The leaves are soft textured and carried on long sheathed petioles that are marbled with brown or purple.  Growing about 3′ tall from a rhizome  plants add a tropical feel to a garden. They are often grown as houseplants but will need high humidity. The genus name, Alocasia, is from the Greek prefix a meaning without/not, and Colocasia, the name of a closely related genus from which it was separated.  The specific epithet, micholitziana, honors Wilhelm Micholitz (1854-1932),  a German plant collector who worked for the German-English gardener Henry Sanders collecting in Southeast Asia.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Greenish spathe and spadix in summer

Size: 2-4′ H x 2′ W

Light: Partial shade

Soil: Average, humusy, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 9-11

Care: Low maintenance; if grown as a container plant indoors provide high humidity and repot in the spring.

Pests and Diseases: Spider mites

Propagation: Division in spring

Companion Plants: Banana, hibiscus, tree fern, fatsia, canna, ginger, caladium

Photo Credit:Wikimedia Commons

By Karen