Giant taro is a coarse, erect, monoecious, rhizomatous and evergreen plant which grows to about 5 m high with large, sagittate, rosette leaves measuring upto 0.9-1.8 m long and 0.6-1.2 m wide. The leaves are glossy in medium green color. The fruit is spathe, oblong top ellipsoid, green and 8 cm long. Each fruit possess several, pale brown seeds with 4 mm as a diameter. It has upright, erect, elongated, woody stems of 1-1.2 m long and 25 cm in diameter. It prefers tropical, subtropical climates and well-drained soil.
Giant taro's facts
Giant taro provides various benefits to the health. It is rich in Vitamin C, carbohydrate, zinc, vitamin E, magnesium and iron which is essential to maintain the health.
Health Benefits of Giant Taro
Eliminates free radicals
Prevent heart ailments
Formation of hemoglobin
Giant taro's Behavior & Ecology
In Maldives, Giant taro is can be seen in occasional in homesteads. Giant taro is native to Malesia (including Peninsular Malaysia, the Philippines and parts of Indonesia), Queensland and the Solomon Islands. Currently it is widely distributed and naturalized in many tropical and subtropical regions in North, Central and South America, the West Indies, tropical Africa and the Indo-Pacific Islands.
Giant taro prefers to grow in humid tropical and subtropical climates with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C. The species can be found growing in a wide variety of soil types, ranging from freely drained sandy soils to deep, well drained clayey soils, but it does not tolerate waterlogged soils. Giant taro has the capability to grow in habitats ranging from full sunlight to deep shade and also tolerates up to 4 months of drought. Consequently it can be found growing in limestone rocky soils with low water holding capacity and holes in the exposed limestone substrate.
Giant taro's Reproduction
Giant taro flowers are borne on a type of inflorescence called a “spadix”, which is usually accompanied by a spathe or leaf-like bract. Flowers in Alocasia are pollinated by insects. Within its native range, Giant taro reproduces sexually by seed, and vegetatively by tubers and root suckers. However, in Puerto Rico this species is not known to flower and plants mainly spread vegetatively.
Giant taro's Relationship with Humans
Giant taro is a giant plant with distinctive leaves and is valued as an ornamental. The rhizomes (swollen underground stems) of Alocasia macrorrhizos are traditionally eaten as a starchy food throughout IndoMalesia and Oceania. It is thought to have once been a major staple food in Micronesia that became extinct there prior to the introduction of related taro species (for example Colocasia esculenta ). The rhizomes are used for animal feed and famine food for people. They require prolonged preparation and boiling or roasting to rid them of stinging calcium oxalate crystals. Today, Giant taro is a popular ornamental plant grown for its large foliage and striking aroid inflorescences. It has also shown promise in sewerage treatment, as it grows rapidly in wetland conditions and has a propensity to accumulate metal contaminants such as zinc.