Alocasia amazonica (African Mask, Jewel Alocasia, Alocasia Alligator)

Alocasia amazonica is a hyrbid, not an actual species, and its name is used non-scientifically by horticulturists. Presumably a mix of Alocasia longiloba (synonymous with A. lowii) x A. sanderiana  or A. watsoniana or  A. sanderiana. These have not been found to naturally occur anywhere in the world outside of cultivation.
Last year, in late Febuary and early March, I became fascinated with A. amazonica upon seeing a few at a local Alsip. Still very much a beginner, I purchased some without knowing how to care for them. The specimen survived for no more than two months, partly because it was poorly potted and didn’t receive adequete humidity. Nevertheless, I hope to successfully grow one of these in the future. Hopefully this new found knowledge will help it thrive.

Alocasia amazonica (African Mask, Jewel Alocasia, Alocasia Alligator)
Deciduous: Depending on the environment, the petioles and lamina may go dormant in colder condition. In warmer conditions, this plant grows year-round.
Hardiness Zones: 9-12
Height: up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) tall
Diameter: 30-50 centimeters (12-20 inches)
Growth Rate: fast
Age: perennial
Root System: fibrous, fairly large
Family: Araceae (Aroid family)
Subspecies: none

Tolerates: Moist soil and low light
Problems (major): Poor drainage frequently leads to root rot, especially in younger specimens. Frost and drought intolerant.
Problems (minor): Slugs, spider mites (in low humidity areas), mealybugs, scale insects
Poisonous: Contains calcium-oxalate crystals, similar to Colocasia esculenta and other members of the aroid family. These crystals should not be consumed, as they badly damage the mouth and throat upon ingestion. The sap can irritate the skin.

Soil requirements: should remain consistently moist with good drainage (Young specimens do well in containers 15 centimeters (6 inches) deep). Prefers slightly acidic or alkaline soils.
Air Requirements: Very warm with high humidity; optimal temperatures range 18-30 degrees Celsius (65-90 degrees Fahrenheit).
Watering requirement: frequent watering
Sun requirement: part-shade to full shade

Leaf shape: Arrow-shaped
Leaf size: up to 61 centimeters (24 inches) long by 30 centimeters (12 inches) wide
Stem: lacks a stem, petioles are palish tan to light green and grow up to 15 inches tall
Flowering structure: Incorporates a peduncle, a spathe, and a spadix. The flowers on the spadix are greenish
Flowering frequency: Infrequent, almost never flowers indoors
Fruits: Small, red, distributed by birds of bats
Bulb/Corm: Corms are typically white.

Notable characteristics:
The leaves are uniquely glossy with prominent, silver to white veins.The leaves are sharply arrow-shaped, dark green to black on top, and typically purplish on the underside.

Uses:
Popularly planted for its aesthetic value. The corms are almost never eaten once thoroughly cooked.

Sources used:

Alocasia_amazonica The Alocasia amazonica I purchased from Alsip Home and Nursery in March 2013.

Alocasia_amazonica Multiple Alocasia amazonica at the Missouri Botanical Garden (picture taken December 2013)

The images provided weretaken by me during March 2013 and December 2013, respectively. They may be used for educational and informational purposes, provided that either this article or this online journal is correctly cited/referenced.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Alocasia amazonica (African Mask, Jewel Alocasia, Alocasia Alligator)

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