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Alocasia cucullata


Alocasia cucullata (Lour.) G.Don

Family Name: Araceae
Common Name: Chinese Taro, Hooded Dwarf Elephant Ear, 尖尾芋


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Dwarf
Maximum Height 1 m


Native Distribution China

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A clumping evergreen herb, growing up to 1 m tall. 
Foliage Leaf blade broadly ovate to cordate, measuring 10 - 40 cm by 7 - 25 cm; base cordate; apex acute.
Stems Upright growing stems, hypogeal.
Flowers Inflorescence solitary although sometimes paired; peduncle 20 - 30 cm; spathe is green, measuring 9 - 15 cm; spadix is yellowish-white, measuring 8 - 15 cm.
Fruit Berry, subglobose, red when ripens, measures 6 - 8 mm in diameter.
Cultivation This species grows best in bright, but indirect light and in consistently moist, but well-drained soil. Apply slow release fertiliser monthly when the plant is actively growing.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal:

Traditional Medicinal Uses

The underground storage organ, known as a corm, is cooked and eaten to cure rheumatism and aches. However, the corm contains toxic calcium-oxalate crystals which must be broken down through cooking before consuming.

It is important to note that some therapeutic effects from traditional medicinal uses of plants are not currently supported or verified by scientific research.

Others: In Asian countries, this species is sometimes called ‘Buddha’s Hand’, because the large leaves are thought to resemble Buddha’s hands. Some people in Thailand and Laos grow this plant in front of their house, because they believe it brings good fortune.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Container Planting, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water, Occasional Misting
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Bulging in between Veins, Thin
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Basal
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Cordate)
Foliar Venation Palmate
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Cordate
Typical Foliar Area Macrophyll ( 182.25cm2 - 1640.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)
Typical Foliar Size 10 cm to 40 cm

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) White, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Spathe & Spadix

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Red
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Smooth
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type

Image Repository



Master ID 336
Species ID 1632
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 23 September 2023.