Alocasia macrorrhizos (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Alocasia macrorrhizos (L.) G. Don

Protologue: Sweet, Hort. Brit., ed. 3: 631 (1839).


Alocasia indica (Lour.) Spach (1846).

Vernacular names

  • Giant taro, giant alocasia, elephant ear (En). Grande tayove (Fr)
  • Indonesia: bira (general), sente (Javanese), mael (Timor)
  • Malaysia: birah negeri, keladi sebaring
  • Papua New Guinea: abir, pia, via
  • Philippines: biga (general), bira (Ilokano), badiang (Tagalog, Bisaya). Burma (Myanmar): pein-mohawaya
  • Cambodia: k’da:t haôra:
  • Laos: kaph’uk
  • Thailand: kradaat (Bangkok), kradaat dam (Kanchanaburi), horaa (Songkhla, Yala)
  • Vietnam: ráy, ráy ăn.


It is unclear where A. macrorrhizos is indigenous. It does not appear to be wild in Malesia, but has been introduced and is often naturalized in the Malesian region and Oceania, and elsewhere in the tropics. Perhaps it should be considered a cultigen.


Boiled stems are used as a laxative, chopped-up roots and leaves as a rubefacient, and juice from the petiole against cough. In Papua New Guinea, young leaves and sap are used externally to treat headache, and leaves cooked in coconut milk are eaten to treat sexual insufficiency. In Thailand, the rhizome is applied to snakebites and wounds. The rhizome is a source of starch or flour. A. macrorrhizos is often planted as an ornamental.


A very large herb up to 400 cm tall, with erect or decumbent stem; leaves not peltate, over 80 cm × 60 cm, petiole up to 130 cm long, not mottled; spadix 13-20 cm long. A. macrorrhizos occurs along roadsides, in waste places and gardens, mostly in wet locations at low and medium altitudes.

Selected sources

47, 91, 121, 245, 325, 327, 331, 347, 445, 566, 760, 1020.

Main genus page


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