Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Black Stem’

Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Black Stem’ from Wellspring Gardens. This photo was taken AFTER I put it in a larger pot on 4-15-12, #83-3.

Alocasia ‘Black Stem’

Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Black Stem’

a-loh-KAY-see-uh  mak-roh-RY-zos

Alocasia macrorrhizos (L.) G.Don is the accepted scientific name for this species of Alocasia. It was named and described as such by George Don in Sweet’s Hortus Britannicus in 1839. It was first described as Arum macrorrhizon by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.  

The genus, Alocasia (Schott) G.Don, was named and described by George Don in Sweet’s Hortus Britannicus in 1839. They were first listed as Colocasia sect. Alocasia by Heinrich Wilhelm Schott in Meletemata Botanica in 1832.

As of 11-13-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 90 species in the Alocasia genus. It is a member of the plant family Araceae with 139 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.


This is another variety of Alocasia macrorrhizos I bought from Wellspring Gardens in the spring of 2012. I bought this plant from Wellspring Gardens as well as a Colocasia antiquorum ‘Black Stem’ from Brent and Becky’s. Back then, the Colocasia was called Colocasia fontanesii ‘Black Stem’ but now that is a synonym of Colocasia antiquorum (I think… Unless it has changed again.). I wanted to see the difference between the two.

The Alocasia ‘Black Stem’ from Wellspring Gardens was a starter plant so it was much smaller than the Colocasia ‘Black Stem’ when they arrived. Besides their size difference, so was their price. But, just remember the old saying… ‘You get what you pay for.” Not complaining, though, because Wellspring Gardens plants have always done very well for me and I have bought quite a few. The plants from both were from tissue culture.

Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Black Stem’ on 6-2-12, #96-3.

The above photo was taken on 6-2-12 after I decided to put it in the ground.

There is very little online about this particular cultivar. In fact, the photo of the one on Dave’s Garden looks like a Colocasia ‘Back Stem’ instead of an Alocasia. The leaves point downward and Alocasia leaves point upward. I am not saying that there are no other pages of this Alocasia on Dave’s Garden that are correct. Dave’s Garden is very reliable but if you look at the photos you can clearly see how the petiole curves downward before it reaches the leaf apex.

The Dave’s Garden page also says the Alocasia ‘Black Stem grows to 15’… 8’ or a little more is more like it but that will take time. I think someone was referring to the species Alocasia macrorrhizos which definitely can grow to 12-15′ tall if you grow them in the right conditions.

Colocasia antiquorum ‘Black Stem’ on 6-2-12, #95-30.

The above photo is of the Colocasia antiquorum ‘Black Stem’ from Brent and Becky’s. Basically, the only difference between the Alocasia and Colocasia ‘Black Stems’ were their leaves. The Alocasia grew facing upward and the Colocasia were downward. Well, Colocasia antiquorum is a synonym of Colocasia esculenta now…

Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Black Stem’ on 6-11-12, #99-3.

I didn’t like it growing in the ground, so I put it back in a pot.

Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Black Stem’ on 6-16-12, #100-1.

Just look at those AWESOME dark maroon petioles!

Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Black Stem’ on 6-16-12, #100-2.

I thought it was neat how the dark midribs and lateral leaf veins showed through the leaves with the sun shining on them.

When I moved to Missouri in February 2013, I gave my Alocasia ‘Black Stem’ to a good friend in Mississippi. I think I gave it to him because they are only hardy to zone 9, but information on the internet also says they are harder to grow inside during the winter… Maybe someday I will buy another Alocasia ‘Black Stem’…

LeeAnn Garner of Aroidia Research mentioned on her website in 2007 that they were working to create a new hybrid with Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Black Stem’ since this variety is not reliably cold hardy, they were trying to create a new hybrid that was. I don’t think she will mind if I add a link to her page. In fact, I don’t think she has been to this website for a long time. She does have MANY very good articles on Dave’s Garden. Maybe they were successful and there is a better hybrid now.

Someday, I will purchase another Alocasia ‘Black Stem’.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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