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corrections, book on ''chubas''

  • Subject: corrections, book on ''chubas''
  • From: <ju-bo@msn.com>
  • Date: Tue, 5 Jan 2010 13:57:26 +0000

Dear Friends,

Below are comments on the obvious errors I see (not many, it is a GOOD book!) in the small publication by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden--"Buried Treasures, Tasty Tubers of the World".
Let`s start at the beginning of the book!

1) The very first photo one page in is of leaves captioned as belonging to Alocasia macrorrhiza.   They are in fact the leaves of Colocasia esculenta = taro/dasheen/eddoes.

2) On pg. 7 is a photo of many roundish tubers/rhizomes/corms, the caption says they are of Xanthosoma sagittifolium.   I am 99.9% certain that these are from Colocasia esculenta ''antiquorum'' or eddoes.  These same tubers are shown in the background on the photo on pg. 107.
Note---To be 100% certain of the I.D`s, I`d have to cook and eat these (and other) tubers/roots!

3) On pg. 10 is a photo of tubers/roots, the caption says that are from A. macrorrhiza. 
I am 99.9% certain that these represent the TRUE swollen roots (they are not rhizomes, corms or tubers) of Cassava/Manioc/Yucca/Tapioca (see pg. 52 for a good account on this plant.)

4) on pg. 22 is the ''biggie''.   They picture and correctly label this plant as-- "Alocasia macrorrhiza---Giant Taro/Elephant`s ear/Ape (Hawaiian)''. 
My problem is that they say that the underground off-shoot tubers/rhizomes are great when cooked and used as food, but I have NEVER heard or read of this anywhere.   Much of their report on the edibility/preparation of this plant is inaccurate, and they say that the photo on pg. 10 is of tubers from this plant, this is incorrect (see #3 above).
In Deni Bown`s book ("Aroids, Plants of the Arum Family", GET A COPY IF YOU DON`T have one, GREAT book!!), she refers to these small structures produced by this aroid as  "cormels'', and says that they tend to be coarse and acrid, and that it is sections of the main rhizome that are peeled, prepared/cooked and eaten. 
Recently a friend visited Fiji, and was treated to a meal of this by the village chief.  He photographed the prep./cooking of the portions of the main rhizome, and reported that it was good eating.  His account MAY become an article in a forthcoming issue of the IAS`s Aroideana.

 I read a very few other minor errors and some glaring ommisions, all which I ignore.
All in all, it is a great little book, many seemingly GOOD sources for plants, etc. from dealers/nurseries at the back.  At the price, I highly recomend you purchase a copy (e-bay, or directly from Brooklyn Garden, $9.95.).


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