Discover the key differences between the two most sought-after houseplants with this Colocasia Vs. Alocasia guide!
Do you often find yourself consisted between two almost identical leafy houseplants—Colocasia Vs. Alocasia? Well, you’re not alone. Let’s decode the key differences between the two botanical wonders to ensure you pick the best!
What Is Colocasia?
Originating from parts of Southeast Asia and India, the lush, leafy Colocasia is a member of the Araceae family. It is best known for its large, broad leaves closely resembling an elephant’s ear, earning it the common name—Elephant Ear or Taro.
The heart-shaped leaves feature a prominent midrib and several smaller veins branching off. They’re mostly a deep, lush green, with some varieties exhibiting blackish-purple hue. Beneath the soil, Colocasias develop corms, which are thickened underground stems. These corms are of great culinary importance, especially in Asian, African, and Pacific Island cuisines.
However, note that all parts of the plant contain calcium oxalate crystals, making them toxic when raw. Proper cooking neutralizes this toxicity and makes it a favored choice among gardeners and culinary enthusiasts.
What Is Alocasia?
The leaves typically have a heart or arrowhead shape and a deep, glossy green color, with some variations, depending on the species. The most distinctive trait of Alocasias is the pronounced veins on their leaves that add to the plant’s decorative beauty. While some Alocasia species have edible corms, many are cultivated primarily for their aesthetic appeal.
Besides its extraordinary appearance, Alocasias eliminate formaldehyde from the indoor atmosphere, helping you breathe cleaner air.
Learn about Growing Alocasia Dragon Tooth Plant here
Colocasia Vs. Alocasia—Similarities
- Family & Origin: Both genus belongs to the Araceae family, commonly known as the Arum family. They originate from tropical and subtropical regions of Asia.
- Tuberous Roots: Like many plants in the Araceae family, both Alocasia and Colocasia grow from tubers or rhizomes. These storage organs help the plants endure unfavorable conditions as they store nutrients and water.
- Toxicity: Both Alocasia and Colocasia contain oxalates, which can cause digestive issues and skin irritation if ingested or handled improperly. Hence, they should be kept away from children and pets.
- Flowering Structure: The inflorescences of both genera feature a spathe and spadix, characteristic of the Araceae family.
- Air Purifiers: An often overlooked similarity is their ability to purify air. Both plants are potent in removing toxins from the surroundings, thus contributing to a healthier living space.
- Moisture Preference: Both Colocasia and Alocasia prefer moist soil conditions and are common in areas with high humidity. Some species from both genera can even thrive in standing water or swampy conditions.
- Ornamental Value: Both are popular in ornamental gardening because of their striking foliage. They find their place in tropical-themed gardens and are a popular indoor choice.
Colocasia Vs. Alocasia—Key Differences
- Leaf Orientation: Alocasia leaves usually point upwards, with the leaf blade looking skyward. In contrast, Colocasia leaves droop or point toward the ground, creating a different visual impact.
- Foliage Texture Texture: Generally, Alocasia leaves are smoother and glossier than their Colocasia counterpart. In contrast, the competitor features more textures and intricately veined foliage.
- Size & Shape Variation: Colocasia has fewer variations in terms of leaf shapes and sizes compared to Alocasia. While the latter has a wider variety of leaf shapes, sizes, and even colors or patterns, making them particularly appealing to plant collectors.
- Propagation: Alocasia propagation includes division, separating offsets from the parent plant. Colocasia, on the other hand, is grows from the corms or tubers.
- Primary Use: Colocasia is primarily grown for its edible corms. Its primary use in many cultures is culinary. On the other hand, Alocasia earns a high ornamental value because of its striking foliage.
- Leaf Stalk Attachment: The leaf stalk (petiole) of Colocasia attaches to the leaf blade closer to the center of the basal part. The latter attaches its leaf stalk to the leaf blade at the edge.
- Corms: Colocasia plants tend to produce larger, edible corms, popularly known as “Taro dish”. Alocasia corms are smaller and are less commonly used for consumption.
- Dormancy Period: A lesser-known difference is the dormancy period. Alocasia plants usually have a pronounced dormancy period in winter, while Colocasia plants can grow year-round if conditions are suitable.
Learn about Growing Alocasia Wentii Indoors Here
Colocasia Vs Alocasia- Wrap Up
In the tale of Alocasia vs. Colocasia, it’s clear that while they may be siblings under the Araceae family umbrella, they’re each distinctive in their own right. From their native origins to their unique leaf orientations, textures, and growth patterns, each plant brings something special to the table.
Though both plants share common care needs, understanding their unique characteristics is key to successfully cultivating these tropical beauties.