Xanthosoma

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Xanthosoma

The ape or elephant ear
is a large arum. Each leaf in this
photo is over 60 cm long
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Liliopsida
Order:Alismatales
Family:Araceae
Genus:Xanthosoma
Species

About 50; see text

Xanthosoma is a genus of about 50 species of tropical and sub-tropical arums in the flowering plant family, Araceae, native to tropical America. They are closely related to Caladium and Colocasia (taro). Common names include cocoyam, tannia, yautia, malanga, ‘ape and (mainly in populist horticultural literature) elephant ear (from the purported resemblance of the leaf to that of an elephant's ear).

The leaves are 40-200 cm long, saggitate (arrowhead-shaped) or subdivided into 3-18 segments. Unlike the leaves of Colocasia, those of Xanthosoma are usually not peltate—the upper v-notch extends in to the point of attachment of the leaf petiole.

  • Tannia (Xanthosoma saggitifolium (L.) Schott) is an important food crop in tropical areas, grown for its starchy tubers, eaten as a grilled, fried or puréed, and the young leaves, eaten as a leaf vegetable.
  • The ‘ape or elephant ear (Xanthosoma roseum) is a popular ornamental species.

External reference

  • Xanthosoma spp. (http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/nexus/Xanthosoma_nex.html) at Purdue University, Center for New Crops & Plants Products.
Missing image
386px-Arum_flower.jpg
Elephant Ear (Xanthosoma roseum)
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