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Re: [aroid-l] Xanthosoma "roseum"

  • Subject: Re: [aroid-l] Xanthosoma "roseum"
  • From: "Eduardo Goncalves" edggon@hotmail.com
  • Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 00:01:36 +0000

Dear Susan,

Well, I couldn´t access the other pictures (a weird error message appeared) but the "Xanthosoma sagittifolium" you showed is also X. robustum! Believe, Xanthosoma sagiitifolium (if it really cultivated in USA) is pretty rare!!!! In Lorenzi´s book "The tropical plants of Burle-Marx" there are both species featured and I checked the ID personally, but the angle of the picture is not good enough to show exactly the differences.
Grayum´s statement on Flora of CR is very accurate, and I agree with him in almost anything. However, based on my experience cultivating those beasts, Xanthosoma sagittifolium will never turn into X. robustum, even when you allow it to grow fully. I have started both species, side by side, at the same juvenile state, and they get different with time. On the top of this, young plants are different too!
Anyhow, I do believe that Xanthosoma sagittifolium is a domesticated "species" and it is possible that the original stock were gathered from something within same evolutionary lineage of modern X. robustum. It seems to have been selected from some neotenic individuals of the X. robustum complex, because young specimens keep their starch-rich cormels instead of the spongy adult stem. Even today, only young individuals of X. robustum (malanga blanca) are harvested as food.
I have an article on cultivated Xanthosoma that I am preparing to be published in Aroideana, with pictures of most cultivated species. I am planning to release it this year, so I think a few things will get clear.

Very best wishes,



Thank you for that information. I appologize if no one is interested in this subject, but I appreciate the
help given.


Here is a photo of X. sagittifolia and others that may be synonomous:

Xanthosoma sagittifolia:

Xanthosoma robustum:

Xanthosoma robustum. To me, the leaves look too collected to be the plant in the black and white photo of X.
roseum, but this is a younger plant? A leaf photo:


Xanthosoma roseum is refered to on one site (though it doesn't obviously say which source this information
comes from) as 'rosey malanga' and 'elephant ear'. Xanthosoma sagittifolium in various cultivated edible forms
is refered to as 'tiquisque blanco and tiquisque colorado'....in Costa Rica. Eduardo, you mention that the
true form of X. sattifolium it is also refered to as 'malanga-blanca'. I'm not sure what all this means but M.
H. Grayum says this in his description of Xanthosoma (You'll have to scroll down to Xanthosoma where he
describes X. dealbatum; X. robustum; X. sagittifolium) site follows:

"Xanthosoma robustum is characterized by its erect, aerial stems, glaucous foliage, naked posterior leaf ribs,
and uniformly greenish inner spathe tube surface. The infls. are the largest of any CR Xanthosoma sp. This sp.
is most similar to X. undipes (with non-glaucous foliage and usually red spathe tubes) and X. sagittifolium
(acaulescent and usually with winged posterior ribs). Indeed, the plants treated here as X. robustum may prove
to represent merely robust individuals of X. sagittifolium."

X robustum and X. sagittifolium may end up being the same plant, but how about X. roseum because he also says:

"Because the taxonomy and nomenclature of the cult. Xanthosoma are in such chaos, a single, variable sp. is
here recognized, and the oldest available name is applied. Various cultivars are represented in CR, e.g.,
tiquisque blanco and tiquisque colorado. Some names may prove to be incorrecly synonymized here, such as
Xanthosoma roseum, typified by a Costa Rican collection".

So I guess it's X. sagittifolium that really I'm looking for? Wasn't the black and white photo taken in Costa
Rica? I'd like to know more about the text book that included that photo if anyone knows. Brian, if you find
one of these before I do, I'm available to sell to.

Thanks Eduardo, Michael, and Brian,
Susan Cox

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