Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Alocasia cucullata
(Lour.) G.Don, Araceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 9 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Arum cucullatum Lour.; Caladium cucullatum (Lour.) Pers.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: jian wei yu

English: Buddha's hand, Chinese ape, Chinese taro

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Herbs, clumping, small to medium sized, somewhat robust, to 1 m, evergreen. Stems erect, hypogeal, basally much branched. Leaves many together; petiole weakly D-shaped in cross section, 25-30 (-80) cm, sheath reaching to ca. 1/2 way, margins membranous; leaf blade broadly ovate-cordate, 10-40 x 7-28 cm, base shallowly cordate, apex acute; primary veins 4 on each side, radiating from petiole, arching, interprimary veins not forming a collective vein. Inflorescences rarely produced, usually solitary, sometimes paired, among leaf bases, subtended by membranous cataphylls; peduncle 20-30 cm. Spathe green, 9-15 cm; proximal spathe 4-8 x ca. 2.5 cm; limb narrowly cymbiform, 5-10 x 3-5 cm. Spadix 8-14 cm; female zone cylindric, 1.5-2.5 cm x ca. 7 mm; sterile zone 2-3 cm x ca. 3 mm; male zone yellow, ca. 3.4 cm x 8 mm; appendix yellowish, narrowly conic, ca. 3.5 cm x 5 mm. Fruit rarely produced, a subglobose berry, 6-8 mm in diameter, ripening red"  (Flora of China online).

"Herb with erect stem 3-6 cm thick; petiole 20-85 cm long, with persistent sheath; leaf blade 8-30 x 6-35 cm, the posterior lobes fused; peduncle 25-30 cm long; spathe about 12 cm long, bluish green, the lower part persistent, the upper part arching forward, withering with age; spadix about 10 cm long, pistillate for 1.5-2.5 cm, the sterile interstice 2.5-3 cm, the staminate part 2.5-3.5 cm, bluish green, the appendix 2.5-3.5 cm, greenish, corrugated" (Smith, 1979; pp. 454-455).

Habitat/ecology:  In Hawai‘i, naturalized in the shady understory of forests (Staples et al., 2003; p. 8).

Propagation:  "Chinese taro suckers freely and can spread vegetatively in that manner. Even small pieces of stem, root, or rhizome in the soil are enough to give rise to new plants and the species appears to reach new localities through movement of soil by humans" (Staples et al., 2003; p. 8). The species may also occasionally spread by seed.

Native range:  Perhaps from China, known only from cultivation (Smith, 1979; pp. 454-455). China, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar; naturalized throughout southeast Asia (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Saipan Island introduced
Raulerson, L. (2006) (p. 16)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
‘Atiu Island introduced
invasive
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Mangaia Island introduced
invasive
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island introduced
invasive
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Sparingly naturalized.
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy (2010) (p. 6)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 34)
Naturalized
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Vanua Levu Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1979) (pp. 454-455)
Voucher cited: DA 16955
Sparingly escaped.
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Raivavae (Raevavae) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rimatara (Rimitara) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rurutu Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Raulerson, L. (2006) (p. 16)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Staples, George W./Imada, Clyde T./Herbst, Derral R. (2003) (p. 8)
Voucher cited: C. Imada 2001-20 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Staples, George W./Imada, Clyde T./Herbst, Derral R. (2003) (p. 8)
East Maui. Voucher cited: R. Hobdy 2490 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank (2007) (p. 18)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer H80502 (BISH, PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Imada, Clyde (2007) (p. 35)
Voucher cited: G. Staples 1223 (BISH)
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands introduced
Kato, Hidetoshi (2007)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. (1999) (p. 103)
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Majuro (Mãjro) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy (2003) (p. 25)
"Planted ornamental and potted plant".
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Mili (Mile) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy/Vander Velde, Brian (2010) (p. A4)
Rare; single potted plant, private garden, Mili Island.
Nauru
Nauru Island
Nauru Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 17)
Voucher cited: MacKee 22372
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
Raulerson, L./Rinehart, A. F./Falanruw, M. C. (1996) (p. 15)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 89)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Watersides, by fields, ?wild or cultivated; below 2000 m. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Sichuan, Yunnan.
China
China
Hong Kong native
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 297)
In farmland, on wet places along streams or cultivated.
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country of) introduced
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 12)
Cultivated only
Thailand
Thailand
Thailand (Kingdom of) introduced
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam (Socialist Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)

Additional information:
Additional online information about Alocasia cucullata is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Alocasia cucullata as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Alocasia cucullata may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Charles Darwin Foundation. 2008. Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos. Charles Darwin Foundation, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.

Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP). (online resource).

Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce. 1987. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian monocotyledonae. Micronesica 20:1-126.

Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. 2010. Checklist of the vascular plants of Pohnpei with local names and uses. Allertonia, in press. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Hawai‘i. 146 pp.

Imada, Clyde. 2007. New Hawaiian plant records for 2005-2006. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2006. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 96:34-41.

Kato, Hidetoshi. 2007. Herbarium records of Makino Herbarium, Tokyo Metropolitan University. Personal communication.

Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy. 2010. Checklist of the plants of Kosrae. Unpublished checklist. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Hawai‘i. 26 pp.

MacKee, H. S. 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 164 p.

McCormack, Gerald. 2013. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2. Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust, Rarotonga.

Oppenheimer, Hank. 2007. New plant records from Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i for 2006. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2006. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 96:17-34.

Raulerson, L. 2006. Checklist of Plants of the Mariana Islands. University of Guam Herbarium Contribution 37:1-69. .

Raulerson, L./Rinehart, A. F./Falanruw, M. C. 1996. A botanical reconnaissance of the proposed Compact-impact road alignment on Babeldaob Island, Republic of Palau. U. of Guam Herbarium Cont. No. 32. 78 pp.

Smith, Albert C. 1979. Flora Vitiensis nova: a new flora of Fiji. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii. Volume 1. 494 pp.

Staples, George W./Imada, Clyde T./Herbst, Derral R. 2003. New Hawaiian plant records for 2001. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2001-2002. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 74:7-21.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

Vander Velde, Nancy. 2003. The vascular plants of Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Smithsonian Institution, Atoll Research Bulletin No. 503:1-141.

Vander Velde, Nancy/Vander Velde, Brian. 2010. Survey of Invasive Plant Species and Other Plants of Mili Atoll, Marshall Islands. USDA Forest Resource Management Grant Program. Unpublished report. 6 pp, plus tabulation of plants of Mili Atoll, 23 pp.

Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. 2013. Flora of Micronesia. National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution. Online database.

Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. 1999. Botanical survey of the United States of America Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Islands. Prepared for Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and the U. S. Army Environmental Center. 111 pp.

Wu, Te-lin. 2001. Check List of Hong Kong Plants. Hong Kong Herbarium and the South China Institute of Botany. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Bulletin 1 (revised). 384 pp.

Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong. 2013. Flora of China (online resource).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 4 SEP 2005 and was last updated on 20 FEB 2013.