Alocasia odora 'Indian'


A plant found in India, it crosses both with Alocasia odora and Alocasia cucullata.
For more info read the discussion at the bottom of the page.

The measuring stick is 36'' (90 cm) long.
The scale is in inches, it is 45x41 cm.
photo (1-6) © Windy Aubrey

Julius Boos wrote on 2007-03-30:

What you think might be a hybrid may in fact be a seedling of your Alocasia cucullata.
My reasoning is that this species is well known for its many leaf variations that sometimes occur spontaneously,
so this may just be a plant that grew from seed dropped by your parent plants,
or even an off-shoot which has mutated producing leaves of a slightly different shape and texture.
The count of veins of the anterior lobe of the leaf blade ( 4 per side),
in fact all the veins of the suspected hybrid, closely match your A. cucullata, just the shape is different.
The anterior lobes of the leaves in your photo of what I believe to be a species of Xanthosoma have 10+ plus veins per side.
Have you seen blooms of the smaller plant as yet? An examination of the spadix will give additional information.
Also see if the suspected Xanthosoma has blooms, as the spathes of Xanthosoma are very different to Alocasia or Colocasia.

Denis Rotolante wrote on 2007-03-30:

Could proposed natural hybrid merely be an aneuploid or polyploid seedling of Alocasia cucullata
with thicker, broader leaves and more pronounced interveinal puckering?
Whatever it is it is an improvement over plain old A. cucullata. See if it gets bigger than the standard cucullata when it matures.

Dan Levin wrote on 2007-03-31:

I highly suspect you'll find the Alocasia cucullata clone which Tony Avent has under cultivation in North Carolina (available thru PDN) to be of great interest.
Please see it here. Look familiar-?!!
I was so convinced a layout error had occurred when I first came across this image that I sent Tony an email,
about a month ago, suggesting someone had swapped his images of A. cucullata and A. odora. Here follows Tony's reply*:
"I checked the images and believe it or not, they are not reversed. Our oldest clumps of A. cucullata changed appearance dramatically as they matured
to look more like a dwarf clump of A. odora that what we typically think of as A. cucullata.
We were quite surprised, but the two photos of A. cucullata are the same clone...just several years apart.
If you look close you'll see few immature leaves toward the top and note that even the mature leaves still have the characteristic twisted tip of A. cucullata.
The plant pictured as A. odora is actually correct also, although it is photographed early in the season.
I wouldn't believe this either unless I'd seen the plants in person and took the photos.
Both id's have been confirmed in person by quite a few aroid authorities."
Are we witnessing a spontaneous mutation, coincidentally occurring 7,700km and an ocean apart?
Is this particular variation genetically encoded in one or more lines of Alocasia cucullata, i.e.
do these two individual plants in HI and NC somehow share common ancestry?
I leave it to finer minds than my own to decipher

Julius Boos replied on 2007-04-02:

I generally never indulge in 'I told you so's" in my notes,
But I have been preaching for years on how quickly (both in geological time and sometimes in just a few years!) aroids can and do mutate!
Recall the very rapid increase in the number of vars/clones of Colocasia esculenta on Hawaii,
which took just a few hundred/thousand years to mutate or be increased dramatically by selective cultivation of vegetative mutations.
It has increased to many hundreds of distinct vars, as it is believed that the earliest settlers brought just a few vars.
of this food-plant with them when they arrived during their epic canoe-journeys across the Pacific ocean.
Today there were/are several hundred recognisable clones of this plant in Hawaii.
Then there is the Xanthosoma sp. with the little 'frills/lips" under the leaf blade,
it will mutate so that you can not recognize a sucker or off-shoot as being produced by the 'mother plant".
I`m a little concerned by the number of veins we can observe on the leaf blade of Tony`s plant in his pic.,
vs. those on both the 'new' mutation and the original A. cucullata in Windy`s photos,
Tony`s plant seem to have many more!

Peter Boyce wrote on 2007-04-02:

What interests me most is that A. cucullata is itself (together with A. macrorrhizos) something of an enigma.
It is not known in the wild and throughout its 'natural' range is only ever found in association with human disturbance.
Those of you familiar with Thailand and Indo-China will have seen it most often planted in the compounds of Buddhist temples where it is favoured as 'lucky'
or, if you ask older monks and nuns, because it is believed to protect the temple from evil spirits and well as bad luck.
In Lao I have seen it planted for the same purpose around the communal rice stores in villages of several of the hill tribe peoples.
My point here is that in all probability A. cucullata is a stabilized culton of perhaps A. odora
(which is indigenous and widespread throughout the 'range' of A. cucullata) maintained for the most part by human intervention,
or maybe a hybrid of A. odora and/or A. macrorrhizos.
There is a possibility that what we are witnessing is a 'reversion' to the progenitor or one of the progeniting parents.
However, I hasten to add that I am no geneticist and that is this all, perhaps fanciful, speculation.

Alistair Hay wrote on 2007-04-03:

I agree with Peter on this though I don't see much sign of A. macrorrhizos in A. cucullata.
It is very likely close to odora and possibly a cultigen and sport from it.
I have seen what seemed to be an intermediate clone (between odora and cucullata) in a taro germ plasm collection in Hanoi
which was rather similar to the plant under discussion here.

LariAnn Garner wrote on 2007-06-03:

This is very familiar to me, as I have had one growing here for a few years; see the link below:
A. odora 'Indian'
I obtained mine from Tony Avent's Plant Delights, but he got the plant originally from the Ganesh Mani Pradham & Sons nursery in India that I referred to on my page.
I contacted them originally to try to obtain a specimen; this nursery does not sell retail or mail order so plant fanciers cannot obtain it from them,
but they do show pictures of it growing in the wild there in India.
They referred me to Plant Delights as a nursery in the USA that had imported the plant from them. Here's the link
I have bloomed the plant; it sets selfed seed quite readily and the progeny look like the parent.

Marek Argent asked LariAnn on 2007-06-03:

The plant grew from a seed of A. cucullata as Windy Aubrey informed me. Is it possible that A. cucullata is a form of A. odora?
Has anyone compared the DNA?

LariAnn Garner answered on 2007-06-03

If indeed the plant grew from a seed of A. cucullata, this plant resulting would not surprise me in the least.
When the "Indian Odora" is young, it looks almost exactly like a vigorous A. cucullata.
The difficulty for some would be in thinking that the plants in this group that have been designated as "species" are truly species and not sports, cultivars, varieties, or etc. rather than true species.
My experience with hybridizing this group of plants has shown me that a great deal of variability exists in the progeny and it is entirely possible (to me) that the "Indian Odora" or plant like Windy's,
may indeed be the progenitor of the odora types ("species") we all are familiar with.
Conclusive knowledge will have to await a DNA analysis and comparison.
Even crossing A. gageana and A. odora yields some plants with characteristics like A. cucullata, so there seems to be a genetic relationship.
Since A. cucullata does not occur in the wild, as you noted, that fact argues for the possibility that, historically,
the plant was selected out from some wild or cultivated seedlings of A. odora by someone because it looked "special",
and then it became "sacred" over time.

More to read on Facebook: here and here
Aroidia: Alocasia odora 'Indian'
Ganesh: Alocasia odora
page created on 2011-10-01
last updated on 2011-01-01