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  Edible Araceae, Aroid art, Wild Bovines,
From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at msn.com> on 2006.12.17 at 13:13:36(14950)
Reply-To : Discussion of aroids
Sent : Saturday, December 16, 2006 5:00 AM
To : "Discussion of aroids"
CC : Wong Sin Yeng - yahoo , Wong Sin Yeng - UNIMAS
, Dr Timothy Hatch

Subject : Re: [Aroid-l] The Saola and the Araceae

Dear Pete and Ted,

Thanks for a great discussion and much information on two of the subjects I
have a lot of interest in, the edibility of the Araceae AND wild Bovine
Does anyone know if perhaps the genus Schismatoglottis may contain less of
the crystals/compounds that make most other aroids so very unattractive to
browsing animals or man?

What is 'ulam', Pete, a type of curry or stew??
The blooms of Spathiphyllum canifolium are reportedly used and cooked as an
ingredient in curies in Surinam/N. S. America, and I got a recent record of
the blooms and young leaves of Caladium bicolor being cooked and used as a
food in Arima, N. W. Trinidad, W.I., the name used for them there was
'ca-chew'. I`d also like any input from you guys 'out there' on a slide I
saw at the MOBOT conference several years ago, it showed a crudely
put-together table of veggies somewhere in field in Asia (Thailand??), and
amongst them were tied-up bundles of the unmistakable purple-colored blooms
of Lasia spinosa with their spiralled tops.
On another note of interest to some of us, "Aroids in Art" (Steve Marak and
other collectors!), just by pure chance and only this morning while I was
browsing through the illustrations in a book ("The Body", Edward
Lucie-Smith, 1981, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London, ISBN 0-500-233339-X
10-81) (this book turned up after my major home repair), and in it on pg. 91
I came across a reproduction of an old painting by Albert Van Der Eeckhout
(active 1637-1664), "A Tarairiu Woman", c. 1641. It shows a woman in
Brazil who is carrying a basket attached to her forhead by a tump-line, the
basket contains the lower leg of a human, she also carries a severed lower
human arm and hand in her right hand. On the left border of the painting
are shown the unmistakable 'canes/stalks' (erect rhizomes) of the giant
aquatic aroid species Montrichardia linnefera, these canes are bearing three
pineapple-like infructesences, and several leaves. Other aroid leaves are
shown along the bottom right of the painting, but are shown too dark in the
copy in the book I have to be identified. It reports that van der Eeckhout
accompanied Count Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen, who led a West India
Company expidition to Brazil, and that v. d. E. illustrated in paintings,
watercolors and drawings and 'on the spot' the flora and fauna, an early
type of scientific and anthropological record.
(Pete, you told us that the seeds of this plant are roasted, and that while
visiting Brazil you tried them, and that they were in fact very good food!)
It would be of great interest to search in the records (in Holland?) and see
what other plants and aroids from Brazil were illustrated by Van der
Eeckhout! (come in, Wilbert H., "Lord Phallus???).

I look forward to comments and any information from you guys out there!



From: "Peter Boyce" <botanist at malesiana.com> on 2006.12.17 at 22:28:11(14955)
Hi Julius

This will be a quick reply (just off to work); will reply at length later.

Ulam is a raw salad made with aromatic leaves (Etltingera, numerous
Lamiaceae, Asteraceae, some Garcinia, &c.) and inflorescences (Musa and
Etlingera in particular) mixed with tiny dried fish (ikan bilis), white
onion, chilli, lime juice and sometimes (called umai and one of my favourite
dishes!) raw freshwater fish marinated in lime...

The Montrichardia seeds I had were steamed; they tasted like good chestnuts;
Typhonodorum seeds are prepared in a similar way and taste similar to

til later


From: "Peter Boyce" <botanist at malesiana.com> on 2006.12.18 at 11:09:44(14961)
Hi Julius

Sorry for the rather fast reply this morning; was in a rush.

Aside from Schismatoglottis leaves, the young emerging leaves of Lasia
spinosa and the young inflorescences are both used here as a cooked veggie.
The young leaves are picked at c. 4 - 6 cm long are stir-fried with garlic
and ikan bilis in the same was as the ferns midin (Diplazium esculentum) and
paku (various fern spp. from Nephrolepis and Christella).

Schismatoglottis leaves that I have tried still leave a mildly tingling feel
in the mouth, especially in the soft palate and the back of the throat. I've
never tried them cooked but imagine that after cooking the tingling would be
much less, as is the case with Colocasia esculenta leaves and C. gigantea
petioles. The latter are sometimes added to bak ku teh, a rich soup made
from pig - every part of the pig (the uterus, ears and tail are my

A local Homalomena with a resinous mango-like smell is sometimes chewed to
freshen the breath (it is VILE...) and there are all manner of micro-uses of
aroids in various forms as medicines (especially terpenoid-rich Homalomena).

Moving away from aroids, another popular addition to ulam is the leaves of
several Begonia; all have a lemon-acid taste similar to that of rhubarb.


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