Re: Xanthosoma (fwd)

-----Original Message-----
From: Dr. Tom Croat <>
To: <>
Date: Friday, May 15, 1998 11:24 AM
Subject: Re: Xanthosoma (fwd)
Dear Aroiders,
A further note on the "new" (to me) Xanthosoma sp. that I recently saw at a
nursery being grown for a customer, and which I at first thought was X.
violacium due to the reddish/ purple color of the tubers/corms--  I was back
there today, and took a closer look at the plants produced by these "new"
reddish tubers, to me indistinguishable from the tubers of "red co co" at
the Jamaican and Cuban stores, which I have previously bought and have grown
to be "true" X. violacium, and was told that Winn Dixie, where they were
purchased, said that they are imported from Costa Rica.  The leaves are
all-green with a wax-like coating that gives them a silvery-greyish look.
The anterior blade lobe points upward, and the points of the posterior lobes
also curve and point upwards.  The texture of the blade is smooth and heavy,
and the margins are gently curved.  The naked areas of the main ribs of the
posterior lobes are VERY short, not as long as in "true" X. violacium or X.
sagittifolia.  NO sign of purple on petiole or blade.  The interior of the
tuber/corm is white, while "red co co" has some streaks of red/purple in its
flesh, even after it is cooked (boiled).  I will be interested to ask any
Jamicans I come across if they noticed a difference in the edibility, as
they MUCH prefer the "red co co" (true X. violacium) to the "white co co"
(x. sagittifolia), as they say the red co co "does not scratch" (itch) as
does white co co.
I will have to photograph these plants, and since I gave the one plant that
I grew of the scarce "yellow malanga" to one of my many friends, I will have
to get another and grow it, also to be photographed, as my memory of its
plant is simular to this "new" one.  Have you all noticed that in Deni
Bown`s book she calls the Xanthosoma with the "pockets" at the leaf tips,
AND the yellow fleshed, edible Xanthosoma, X. atrovirens??  Surely they are
not the same?   Also, there is a BEAUTIFUL,slender and tall (4 ft.)
Xanthosoma sp. locally, its leaves are elongately sagittate, crinkled, with
silvery and darker stripes that are along the viens, someone once told me
its name, but I can not bring it to mind at the moment.  Anyone remember it?
Tom, do you have Sue`s address where one can post plants/ tubers to?


For those of you who have been discussing Xanthosoma in recent days I can
concur that it is a taxonomic mess.  I would encourage you to bring into
cultivation as many species as possible and demand collection data where
possible.  This will be instrumental in a proper understanding of the
genus.  Dr. Sue Thompson is working on Xanthosoma but still has a long way
to go to fully know them and I suspect that she has been reluctant to come
forward in this discussion to avoid being bombarded with questions that no
one can yet answer.  I would further encourage you to send her material to
cultivate because studying them alive is essential.  Sue is on aroid-l.
She works at the Carnegie Museum.


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