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  Frank`s Xanthosoma ID
From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at msn.com> on 2005.10.09 at 04:45:54(13405)
Reply-To : Discussion of aroids
Sent : Saturday, October 8, 2005 7:19 PM
To : aroid-l@gizmoworks.com
Subject : RE: [Aroid-l] Xanthosoma? Please help to ID

Dear Frank,

After reading Dr. Croat`s ID of your Xanthosoma as most probably being X.
sagittifolium (below), I agree. I remembered that a couple years ago
someone else had posted a photo of a plant very simular to your photos, and
I had also incorrectly ID`d it as probably being X. violacium, and that Dr.
Goncalves had then corrected the ID to it being X. sagittifolium.
My confusion is due to the fact that the plants that we in S. Florida had
been calling X. sagittifolium for YEARS, turned out to be X. robustum,
according to Dr. Goncalves, who ID`d a huge plant still growing near to the
cafe at Fairchild Gardens in Miami as being X. robustum, NOT X.
sagittifolium as it was labled as, and had been assumed to be for years.
This X. robustum, a huge plant w/ bullate leaf blades, produces the 'white
tannia/malanga blanca' edible rhizomes beloved as food by us Trinidadians
and Cubans, but not Jamaicans! We could always get the 'red coco' in
Jamaican stores, it grew to be X. violacium/nigrum. Then fairly recently
yet ANOTHER edible rhizome appeared commonly in Super markets in S. Florida,
the cataphylls at the growth tip are darker/brownish and 'tougher' than the
light brownish cataphylls of X. robustum, and the rhizomes are more
uniformly thickish/elongate and round/flask-like in cross section, unlike
those of X. robustum which are much longer and more 'irregular'/'lumpy' in
shape. These new darker colored, more flask-like shaped rhizomes grew to
be plants like yours, and were confused, at least by myself, as being X.
viloacium, the same as the Jamaican 'red coco', but were different, the
petioles not as purple, and, like yours, with lighter colored leaf blade
veins. Dr. Goncalves corrected my previous misidentification from X.
violacium to TRUE X. sagittifolium, which are/were rare in cultivation here
in Florida.
For those of you interested in the culinary merits of these different
species, the true X. sagittifolium and X. violacium both cook to be 'drier',
with a texture more like certain potatoes, while the X. robustum/white
tannia/malanga blanca cooks 'wetter', more glutinous, and is favored by
Trinidadians and some Latins, especially Cubans, in their soups.
It is also reported that X. robustum ("white tannia/malanga blanca") causes
'itching' of the skin and hands when being peeled, while the X. violacium
(and X. sagittifolium??)
["red coco/malanga lilac"] lack this 'itching' while being handled. Well,
oiling ones hands while handling these rhizomes prevents the itching,
according to my late mother.
Good Luck and Good Growing.

Julius Boos

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From: "FrankBln" f_h_bln at gmx.net> on 2005.10.10 at 05:20:51(13417)
Thanks to you both for your quick
replies. I thought X.sagittifolium has greenish leaves. The one I have has dark
blueish/green leaves. But maybe it is just a variation. I found this photograph
on the web which says that it depicts a X. lindenii "purpurea". The
plant on the picture resembles very much my specimen. You think it is mistyped?

http://www.lorescotropicalplants.homestead.com/Xanthosoma_lindenii__Purpurea_.JPG

Best

Frank

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