The alocasia is a perennial herb that is sometimes called elephant’s ear. Some species of alocasia are poisonous, while other species of alocasia are used as a food source. They come in a large variety of shapes and sizes and are commonly used as ornamental plants due to their shape and color. They grow well in humid areas such as Florida.
The poisonous alocasia has long, red stalks and is heart-shaped, according to North Carolina State University's website. The veins on the alocasia are very distinct and white or yellowish. The flowers that the alocasia creates are very small clusters that are not very often seen. The leaves of the alocosia plant are green.
Alocasia is sometimes used as a house plant. This plant is also used as an ornamental plant during the summer. They are commonly planted both because of their appearance and because they are non-invasive. When handling the alocasia, protective gloves should be worn in order to prevent skin irritation.
Areas with a lot of moisture and heat are usually the best places for alocasias. However, they prefer to be in partial shade and do not do well with a lot of sun, according to the University of Florida's website. The soil of the alocasia should be loose and well-drained.
The alocasia is highly poisonous to dogs, cats, horses and humans and can cause death if consumed. If it touches the skin, the alocasia can cause skin irritation. Every part of this plant is poisonous. The calcium oxalate crystals found in the plant have sharp edges that cause irritation on everything that they touch.
After consuming the alocasia, intense burning occurs on the mouth and lips. Drooling, vomiting and a difficulty swallowing can occur. If the alocasia gets in the eyes, it can cause redness, pain, swelling and burning in the eyes. Diarrhea can occur later, according to North Carolina State University. Death is caused by the swelling blocking the airways, though the swelling is usually not severe enough to cause this.
Those who consume the alocasia should wipe their mouths out with a cold, wet cloth and should drink milk. They should then contact a poison-control center. The poison-control center should be notified about the size of the individual who swallowed the poison, how much of the plant the individual ate, what part of the plant the individual ate and how long ago the plant was consumed. Patients who experience diarrhea should drink plenty of fluids in order to replace the electrolytes that they lost from the diarrhea after they have received permission from the poison-control center.