Dear Anne (and Carla),|
First off, I do NOT believe ''all species of Alocasia are edible"", BE CAREFUL!!!
Send us a photo of the plants being sold, they might be Xanthosoma (edible).
Here in WPB, Florida certain ethnic groups do cook and eat the petioles (!) (leaf stems) of what is named ''Chinese taro'' in the horticultural trade, I believe it to be a cultivar of Alocasia macrorrhizos (spelling?), their name for it is ''Bac ha'' or close to this. I also see petioles (sans leaf blades!) of Colocasia sold in the same groceries. No, I don`t have a recipe for preparing these petioles, but soon! :--)
Anne, your "Taro" from your homeland is one/many of the cultivars of the plant Colocasia esculenta, it is ''safe'' as it has been in cultivation by man for thousands of years (it is believed to be THE oldest cultivated crop, older than even rice), and selections have been made over this time of vars. which are ''safe'' to eat.
In Deni Bown`s WONDERFUL book on aroids ("Aroids, Plants of the Arum Family", GET IT!!) in her chapter on edible aroids, she discusses that A. macrorrhizos is cultivated and used as a ''minor'' food crop in Malaysia, but the prep. is difficult as it contains high levels of acrid compounds. It reminds me about a recipe I once was told for cooking a vulture. It was long and VERY involved (the gutting, skinning, pre-seasoning, the special and rare spices to use, etc.), then it said to place the cleaned, seasoned and stuffed vulture wrapped in foil on a board and bake in an oven at 325 degs for 6 hours. You were then instructed to "remove bird from board, place bird in the trash, and to serve and eat the board garnished w/ parsley." To me, the prep. and eating of Alocasia is like this.
In Australia I`d be VERY cautious, as there is a species of Alocasia native to Australia, A. brisbanensis which as a native wild species PROBABLY has VERY high levels of throat-burning compounds.
I hope this information is of help.
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2009 15:43:54 -0600
Subject: [Aroid-l] Edible Alocasias
I received this
message from Anne in Western Australia. Please read below and see if you
can help to answer her question about Alocasias.
Carla V. Kostelac
Assistant to Tom Croat &
Missouri Botanical Garden
Box 299, St. Louis, Missouri
Please send images to our
How are you? I am from Western Australia and I have
recently found some Alocasia plants being sold in a nursery. I would like to
know whether all Alocasia species are edible. In my home country, Mauritius, we
eat Colocasia esculenta and taro.
How can I know whether the species in
the store is edible?
Thank you very much for any reply. I tried to email
Rod, but I could not send emails to him.