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Re: colocasia vs. alocasia

> From: David Franzman <dfranzma@pacbell.net>
> Hey Marge or Jim or whoever might know the answer to this:  What is
> difference between the colocasia and alocasia?  I love them but the
> came up recently and I realized I had no idea.

Well, David, if you hadn't deleted all your mail, you'd know:-)  I
just posted the answer to that one last night.  Here it is again,
just for you:-)

> "Alocasia and Colocasia were once considered the same genus
> (Colocasia) and there still seems to be massive cross-over in
> references that mention them by common name, since both are called
> Taro and many species of both are edible. The differences between
> them, according to the gurus on Aroid-L, are:
> The most important difference between the two is microscopic, found
> within the female flowers. In Colocasia the placenta is along the
> interior sides of the embryonic future berry from top to bottom
> the many "stems" of the ovaries attached to the placenta along the
> interior sides of the ovary. In Alocasia the placenta is basal, and
> sparser number of ovaries and "stems" are attached to it within the
> embryonic future berry but along its interior base.       	
> Generally (not always) Colocasia has a partially peltate leaf
> while Alocasia leaf blades can be any shape imaginable from
> peltate to sagittate, to deeply pinnatifid.
> Generally (not always) Colocasia has a small sterile region at the
> tip of the spadix, while Alocasia has a longer sterile region at
> tip of the spadix.
> Colocasia produce inflorescences in a fan running away from the
> petiole from which they are being produced (i.e. the back of the
> spathe faces the petiole from which it is produced), and,
> produces several inflorescences per leaf. Alocasia produces
> inflorescences running parallel to the leaf and, generally, only
> or two per leaf.
> Alocasia produces rather large, odorless berries carried erect,
> ripen orange-red, each containing one to three (rarely more) large,
> round seeds. Colocasia produces small, yellow-brown, fruits on a
> nodding stalk that have a fruit scent and contain many, small,
> ellipsoid seeds."

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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