Thursday, 23 July 2015

Gavin's Sub-tropical Plant of the Month - Giant Elephant's Ear


Gavin spoke this month about the Giant Elephant's Ear - Xanthosoma robustum. He informed members that the Giant Elephant's Ear is an aroid and native to Central America. It is from the Xanthosoma family and consists of about thirty species. Gavin has an impressive Xanthosoma robustum in his garden (pictured above) and when it threw suckers he potted them up for our trading table and to give away.

The most striking character of these plants is the massive leaves which can grow up to 2 metres long.

The leaf surface causes the rain to bead and run off, especially when new. 




Old plants eventually form a trunk and numerous suckers form around the base of this trunk. The flowers are about 30cm long, pale yellow and resemble Monsteria.


Xanthosoma robustum is not too fussy about sun or shade but it requires a lot of moisture (particularly in Summer) and can be grown in swampy soils. The soil needs to be deep and rich for it to produce the massive leaves or it will struggle in poor conditions.

Xanthosoma robustum has become naturalised in Darwin and Hawaii, growing in extensive colonies in wet areas.

Gavin concluded his talk in remarking that if you grow this plant in the right conditions in your garden it is guaranteed to make people's jaws drop, it certainly has the 'X factor'.





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