'ALOCESIA INDICA' FROM 'ARACEAE' FAMILY

ABOUT 'ALOCASIA INDICA' PLANT


Alocasia indica

FAMILY:- ARACEAE
 

BOTANICAL NAME:- Alocasia indica.
 

VERNACULAR NAMES:
 

SINHALA : Desa-ala, Rata-ala 
ENGLISH : Alocesia
 



DESCRIPTION :
 

A robust herb with bright green,large,triangular-sagittate, slightly repand leaves with strongly marked, whitish mid rib and 6-8, strong, pale, secondary nerves, petioles as long as or longer than the leaves, round and tapering upwards.
 

FLOWERS:- Female inflorescence yellow, narrowly ovoid, about 2.5 cm long, fertile male inflorescence white, 3.8-5 cm long.
 

FRUITS:- Berry red, 7.5-10 mm diameter (Jayaweera, 1981).
 

DISTRIBUTION:
 

Centre of origin is South East Asia. It is a much cultivated species in the tropics including India and Sri Lanka.
 

EDIBLE PART: The tubers
FOOD USE: As a food the tubers are prepared in various ways. It can be boiled and eaten as staple prepared curries.
 

NUTRITIONAL AND THERAPEUTIC VALUE:
 

Moisture - 70 g, 
Energy - 111 kcal, 
Protein - 0.5 g, 
Carbohydrate - 27 g, Calcium 150 mg, 
Iron - 1.0 g, 
Thiamin 0.03 mg, 
Riboflavin - 0.1 mg, Niacin 1.0 mg. (Perera et al, 1979).

Medicinally, the plant is regarded as useful in treating anasarca. The boiled tubers frequently act as a mild laxative and diuretic and are beneficial for piles and chronic constipation. The ash of the rootstock mixed with honey is used for cases of aphthae (Jayaweera, 1981).
 

OTHER USES: Leaves are used as wrapping materials.
 

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSES:
 

Fertile lands with good water readoption are preferable; requires a well distributed rainfall of 2000 mm per year. Elevations below 1000 m are generally suitable.
 

CULTIVATION :
 

Area for planting - This is quite suited to high rainfall areas, and can be expected to do well in the low-country and mid-country wet zone. Some of the relatively shortaged varieties can also be grown successfully in the dry zone, without irrigation.
 

Planting season - It can be planted almost throughout the year except during the very dry months.
 

Planting material - They consist of either crowns, or tubers. Crowns have to be planted almost immediately after harvest. Small sized tubers could be planted fully. Large ones should be cut into two or three pieces, each containing two or three eyes. It is usual to smear the cut surface with wood ash to prevent rotting.
 

Land preparation - The land should be worked to a depth of about 20-25 cm. The application of well rotted compost or cattle manure ai this time gives beneficial results. Planting is usually done in individual planting holes. The tubers are buried 7.5-10 cm deep.
 

Spacing - 1.-1.5 m x 1-1.5 m.
 

Fertilizer - This responds well to manuring. Heavy application of well rotted cattle manure or compost, at planting, can double the yield of tubers. Preliminary weeding may be necessary till the plants grow up and shade the soil.
 

Time to harvest - Depending on variety, the crop may be lifted from three months onwards.
 

Harvest - The tubers are lifted carefully by digging the whole plant out, without injuring the tubers. 

STORAGE :
 

Uninjured tubers store relatively well.