Interested in alokaziya indoor plant lovers may encounter an unexpected problem. The fact is that it will be very difficult to choose a suitable specimen, because alokaziya is not one plant, but a huge genus uniting almost eighty independent species.
Features and characteristics of alokaziya
While the appearance and size of alokazii of different species may differ significantly, all plants have common features. Such characteristics of alokazii include the structure of plants consisting of a short tuberous rhizome, a succulent stem, and the presence of large decorative leaves that are attached to the stem with the help of long petioles.
It is the foliage, thanks to which alokaziya is compared with African masks, spearheads, jagged swords, elephant ears and even dragon skin, and causes the main interest of indoor plants.
How does Alokia bloom?
If, however, a connoisseur of plants of the aroid family, to ask how alokazii bloom, it turns out that most of the types of inflorescences are quite ordinary.
In the warm season, when Alokazi begins a period of active growth, flower stalks appear from the leaf axils, which at first are easily confused with the new leaf. But only the peduncle begins to unfold and lengthen, it becomes clear that at its end there is an inflorescence in the form of a cob, wrapped in a dense perianth.
On the ear there are both male and female flowers. Depending on the type and variety and inflorescence, and bedspreads vary in color and size.
Most often, alokaziya plants form white or yellowish cobs, and perianths are painted in different shades of green. Flowers of alokaziya almost do not smell, the exception is alokaziya Odora or fragrant, whose aroma resembles the smell of lilies.
The general characteristics of different types of alokaziy include the appearance and structure of the fruit. Orange or red berries are quite small and even for the largest specimens in diameter do not exceed 1 centimeter. Under the thin peel in the juicy flesh is located several light rounded seeds.
That's just for the reproduction of alokaziya plants such seeds are not always suitable.
The fact is that alokaziya plants grown on window sills and in greenhouses are often complex or interspecific hybrids, and their seeds are completely sterile or do not retain the properties of the parent plant. Therefore, when breeding people from distant tropics, it is easier to use vegetative methods, for example, root layers, parts of the stem, and daughter tubers.
Tuberiform rhizomes of this amazing plant can be found not only in flower shops, but also on the shelves of supermarkets in the south of China, in Japan, Singapore and other countries where alokaziya grows.
Tubers of alokaziya is a gourmet treat of
Although all parts of the plants of alokaziya contain calcium oxalate toxic to humans, tubers and thick stems of certain species are widely used in food. Such varieties include large-root or Indian alokaziya, widespread in the subtropical and tropical zones of Asia, particularly in India, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
If the pulp of the tuber or the green of the alokaziya plant falls on the mucous membranes and human skin in its raw form, there is a strong burning sensation, pain. Breathing is difficult, because of pain and cramps, the process of swallowing becomes more complicated.
But even such risks do not stop the local population from cooking from the roots of the giant taro, as they call the large types of alokaziya, nutritious dishes. Alokaziya tubers, sometimes reaching a weight of 400–600 grams, are rich in sugars, starchy substances, and vitamins. It is a good source of carbohydrates, fiber and minerals. Only taste the sweet, nutty taste of taro after a long heat treatment.
To date, alokaziya tubers are a valuable dietary product from which flour is made, adding it to traditional pastries, confectionery, beverages, and even ice cream.
At the birthplace of Alokazia, you can try steamed and roasted tubers, and soups and desserts are made from them.
At home, you can make exotic chips. To do this, peeled tubers, cut into thin slices, are sprinkled with vegetable oil, slightly salted and sent to the oven for 20 minutes. At a temperature of 180–200 ° C, the slices bake well and become crispy.
During the processing and cleaning of the tubers of Alokaziya, one should not forget about possible skin lesions, therefore the hands are pre-lubricated with vegetable oil or they work with gloves.
The popularity of tubers among gourmets has led to the fact that alokaziya plants are cultivated in the homeland as a crop.
Alokaziya hybrid plants for keen gardeners
Alokazii is not only a source of valuable food raw materials, but also popular indoor plants. And here an important role is played by actively carried out selection work, allowing flower growers to grow unseen in the wild varieties and hybrids.
The successes achieved are evidenced by such an interesting fact about alokaziya, such as awarding a special award from the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain to the creators of the famous Alokazia Amazonica, which is an inter-specific hybrid.
Over the decades that have passed since the middle of the last century, breeders have advanced significantly, and at the disposal of flower growers, alokaziya plants have appeared, combining features of outwardly dissimilar varieties and species.
Exceptionally due to the efforts of scientists, flower growers obtained a hybrid species of Alocasia cupredora, derived from the crossing of alocasia odora and Alocasia cuprea plants. The hybrid, dubbed the “Dark Purple Shield” or “Maroon shield”, retained the foliage inherent in copper alokazii, but the size and structure of the plant more closely resemble the odora.
Alokaziya portora plants are well known to growers under the commercial name portodora. Hybrid species obtained from crossing Alocasia odora and Alocasia portei.
And besides surprisingly beautiful green plants, breeders managed to grow specimens with maroon veins and leaf petioles.
Sufficiently graceful plants of alokaziya variety "Giant Zebra" obtained from the parent pair Alocasia macrorrhizos and Alocasia zebrine. In addition, for breeding, breeders took the largest of the existing varieties of Indian alokaziya. This is Alokazia Borneo Giant, whose leaves exceed 120 cm in length.
In Borneo, where alopecia of this giant variety grows, the plants are a landmark and gather many tourists around themselves.
From the parent pair to the new Alokaziya plant of the variety “Giant Zebra”, motley petioles with a slightly blurred dark pattern and leaves, pointed like Alokaziya zebrin, were taken. In general, the variety is quite large and looks great in spacious rooms and greenhouses.
While quite large species and varieties have been described above, from the side of gardeners there is a great interest in miniature alocasias suitable for growing at home.
Alokaziya microdora is unique in that it is the tiniest specimen in the world. A hybrid worthy of being included in the Guinness Book of Records cannot be found in flower shops, but scientists hope that the species will soon stabilize and become commercial.
Alokaziya sanderidora is the result of the crossing of the plants of Alokazia Sanderiana "Nobilis" and alokaziya fragrant. Descendants of known species have retained the arrow-shaped foliage, but its color has become softer. The stalks acquired a brownish tint, and their size, as compared with the alopecia of the odora, decreased markedly.
Presented in the photo, morocco alokaziya has already become available to flower growers and occupies worthy places in home collections. Best of all, such alokaziya grows in warm, moist air. For culture requires a small winter period of rest, when the plant is almost not watered and kept in blackout. In the summer you can not do without frequent watering, light and power.
The spectacular plants of Alokaziya princeps of the “Purple Cloak” or “Violet Cloak” stand out with dark triangular leaves with a purple back and a slightly wavy edge.
The height of the plant is 50–80 cm. Therefore, in a room where this species grows alokaziya, the plant is looked for a lighted, but protected from the hot rays, a worthy place.
Alokaziya plants, named after the well-known enthusiast of this culture and the creator of many hybrid species Brian Ulyams, obtained from crossing Alocasia macrorrhiza and Alocasia Amazonica. Hybrid Alokazia Williams Hybrid is quite cold-resistant, durable and strong. She will find a place in the spacious rooms and in the greenhouse conservatory.
The leaves in the shape of an African mask have a dark green color, wavy edges and light-colored streaks. The back side of the new hybrid has retained a lilac shade, but the size of the plant is larger than that of alokaziya amazonika.
This is alokaziya infernalis variety “Kapit”, recognized as the darkest variety among the indoor plants of this kind. The foliage of the plant with a thyroid shape and metallic luster resembles the cuprea and clypeolata species, but is distinguished by a thick purple-black shade, which also remains a part of the petioles.
Many small species of alokaziya, like this plant of the “Kapit” variety, prefer loose, structured soil, to which you can add pearlite or crushed bark.
Alokaziya makharani Variegata is the pearl of any collection of tropical plants!not only is the foliage of this species very thick, structured and has an unusual leathery texture, breeders managed to fix the mutation that led to bright spots on the plants of alokaziya.
The leaves of this alokaziya plant are most reminiscent of stingrays, which is why the variety was named “Stingray”.The natural mutation that appeared in nature was noticed and fixed by breeders. As a result, flower growers received a unique variety with "tail" green leaves, effectively collected along the central vein.
Wherever alokaziya grows, in the wild or in a city apartment, these plants need a lot of moisture, heat, and dim, but long-term illumination. At home, alokaziya plants often settle along the shores of water bodies, in humid lowlands and on the chalky slopes, where water flows after rain.
At the same time, one should not forget that the stagnation of moisture is destructive for the roots, and only by observing the balance and competently caring for a tropical inhabitant, one can enjoy the health and beauty of the alokaziya plant for a long time.