Leucocasia Gigantea Thailand Giant Elephant Ear

Leucocasia Gigantea Thailand Giant Elephant Ear

In the realm of horticulture, the once-familiar Colocasia Gigantea has undergone a scientific metamorphosis and is now officially recognized as Leucocasia gigantea.

This transformation includes its relocation from the Colocasia group to its distinguished section within the Araceae family, commonly known as Aroids.

Colocasia Gigantea (Thailand Strain) stands out as a unique and imposing member of the Araceae family, which encompasses an array of extraordinary plants, including Amorphophallus (voodoo lilies), Alocasia, Colocasia (elephant ears), and Spathiphyllum (peace lilies).

Native to tropical regions of Asia, such as China, Thailand, and Borneo, Colocasia gigantea plays a vital role in the ecosystem.

The petioles, or stems, serve as a valuable food source for locals, especially in areas with challenging soil conditions.

Introduced to the United States in 2003 by Alan Galloway and Petra Schmidt, who brought back seeds from an expedition to Thailand, Gigantea has swiftly transitioned from obscurity to becoming a sought-after plant, recognized by name among the general public by 2010.

Leucocasia Gigantea has made a significant impact in the world of horticulture, captivating the attention of many gardens with its commanding stature.

Towering over other Colocasia species, it boasts remarkable leaf size and height. Below, we delve into the distinctive aspects of this plant based on my own experiences in cultivation.

Leucocasia Gigantea demonstrates an extraordinary growth rate, standing as one of the fastest-growing plants in my observation. Planted in the ground, 4-inch specimens have been known to reach staggering heights of 8 to 10 feet in a single season, a remarkable feat, especially in the climate of Kentucky, where this transformation occurs within 5 to 6 months.

The splendor of Leucocasia Gigantea is truly revealed in its mature foliage, which can reach impressive dimensions of 4 to 5 feet in length and 2 to 4 feet in width. What sets it apart is the strikingly pronounced veins and mid-veins, a distinctive feature not commonly found in most species. The leaves themselves boast a captivating palette, ranging from a light aqua green to glaucum color.

Adding to its allure, the petioles (stems) of Gigantea share the same light green hue as the leaves, adorned with a delicate white powdery substance. The base of the plant is a spectacle in itself, at times expanding to a remarkable 1 foot or larger in diameter.
During the summer months, it's not uncommon to discover water cradled within the cupped bases of the petioles.
Reproductive Traits: Gigantea exhibits intriguing reproductive traits. Small tubers may emerge at the base of the plant, while sucker plants, a common occurrence on mature specimens, add to its vitality.
Occasionally, the plant may surprise with small runners, extending only a few inches before giving rise to a new plant at the tip. Although this trait is not widespread, its occasional appearance suggests a fascinating adaptability to different environments.
Root System: When unearthed, a mature Gigantea reveals a substantial root mass adorned with many white roots. While the plant typically eschews the production of a large tuber (bulb) at the end of the season, instances have been noted where, when stressed and excavated, it demonstrates the capability to form a substantial starchy tuber.
As the berries ripen, they exude a sugary substance, creating a slimy texture when squished. This ingenious design aims to attract animals in the tropical rainforest, facilitating seed dispersal through their consumption.
Intricate Seeds: The small seeds, akin to sesame seeds or smaller, boast parallel ridges upon close inspection.
Nature's small wonders, these seeds hold the potential for the next generation of Gigantea.
For optimal growth, Leucocasia Gigantea (Thailand Strain) thrives on ample water with swift drainage. While it appreciates moisture, avoid consistently waterlogged conditions to prevent stress and potential root issues.
Although adaptable as a bog grower in some climates, be cautious, as its large, less fibrous roots can easily drown and rot.
Prioritize a watering routine that keeps the roots healthy and the plant thriving.
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