Alocasia: a promising food crop for next generation
In India, three types of alocasia are present, especially in Bengal, Assam and South India in abundance. Alocasia cuculata (Lour.) thrives well under Bengal conditions as a tall herb and it is famous for its edible rhizomes. The second species, A. indica Schott; Eng., is a gaint taro having large leave caladium and belonging to family Araceae. It is generally grown in Bengal, Assam, Maharastra and South India. Stem and rootstocks are edible, leaf juice is astringent and rhizome is used as mild laxative and diuretic. The third type of Alocasia present in India and Sri Lanka is Alocasia microrhiza (L.) Schott; Eng. (giant taro, Araceae), a large herb with edible corm; after treating with 2% w/v sodium bicarbonate 20 min after boiling it is used as vegetable with minimum raphaites (71 mg 100 g-1 edible part). In ICAR-RCER, Research Center for Makhana, 10 edible alocasia accessions from Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar were collected. Ranchi-3 alocasia is a dwarf whose horizontal root along with stem are edible. An upright alocasia (RKM-1) was collected from Kolkata. It can be planted in a minimum distance. A small alocasia was collected from West Bengal (WB-1) which is a favorite for making postharvest products like Bari. The alocasia collection WB-2 is spreading and suitable for twin use like vegetables and medicinal treatment in arthritis. A. microrhiza is lucrative for its voluminous and quick growth and it is an easy growing food plant for the future generation. Typical of leaf vegetables, alocasia leaves are a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and zinc, and a very good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, copper, and manganese. So in India immediate nationwide attention is required to conserve these valuable plants without any delay and pave the way for them for cultivation in fertile land. As the world population is growing alocasia may be a promising food for the future. It may be grown as a sole crop or a companion crop of a mix cropping system with sweet flag and makhana.
Jana, B.R. (2019). Alocasia: a promising food crop for next generation. Acta Hortic. 1241, 31-36
alocasia, vegetables, arthritis, promising food