Alocasia wentii

Alocasia wentii

Alocasia wentii in bloom

Imagine our surprise when, while touring a local nursery, we happened upon this Alocasia wentii in bloom. When we saw the plant on March 25, 2005, the inflorescence was not yet open. We prevailed upon the nursery owner to allow us to borrow the plant for our research, and he was gracious enough to allow us to do so.

On March 26, 2005, the inflorescence opened and we did a "double cross" using Alocasia x calidora pollen plus Alocasia x Amazonica pollen. We were struck by the morphological similarity of this inflorescence to the morphology of the A. odora inflorescence, including the distinctive odor that the A. odora inflorescence gives off. We had to put our noses right up to the spadix to get the full smell, but the odor was unmistakable. The plot thickens now that we have seen an inflorescence on A. wentii (and, of course, the hybridization broadens as well).


After two inflorescences have opened and matured, we have yet to see the first grain of pollen shed from the spadices of A. wentii. It is our current feeling that this plant may be sterile, adding support to our hypothesis that A. wentii is actually a hybrid of unknown origin, one involving an A. odora type and one of the purple-backed species (an example being A. cuprea). Our first choice for the purple-backed parent is A. sedenii, because we have done the cross with A. cuprea and A. odora and, while the progeny of that cross do show some similarity to A. wentii, they grow to a much larger size as well as showing other distinct characteristics that A. wentii does not.

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