Alocasia cucullata

Source: Own work | CC BY 4.0

Alocasia cucullata
Botanic Garden Meise

Alocasia cucullata or Buddha’s hand is a beautiful tropical plant with many bright green leaves.

It is very hardy and can overwinter outdoors up to USDA Zone 7. It loses its leaves but growth resumes next spring.


Grows best in moist to wet conditions but resists drought.

All parts of the plant are poisonous.


Alocasia cucullata is a clump-forming herb, up to 1 m tall, evergreen.

The stems are upright, underground and highly branched at the base.

The leaves are many. Petiole is 25-30 cm long, the leaf sheath reaches to about 1/2 of the petiole. The leaf blade is broadly ovate-cordate, 10-40 cm long and 7-28 cm wide, shallow heart-shaped at the base, apex acute.

The inflorescences rarely appear, usually solitary, sometimes in pairs, from the leaf base, surrounded by a membranous cataphyll. The stem is 20-30 cm long. The spathe is green, 9-15 cm long. The spadix is 8-14 cm long, the female zone cylindrical, 1.5-2.5 cm long and 7 mm wide; the sterile zone is 2-3 cm and 3 mm wide; the male zone is yellow, 3.4 cm long and 8 mm wide; appendix yellowish, narrow conical, 3.5 cm long and 5 mm wide.

Fruit is rarely produced, subglobose berry, 6-8 mm in diameter that turns red when ripe.


  • ornamental
  • medicinal
  • good luck


Common names:

Chinese taro, Chinese ape, Buddha’s hand, hooded dwarf elephant ear


Alocasia rugosa, Arum cucullatum, Caladium colocasia, Caladium cucullatum, Caladium rugosum, Colocasia cochleata, Colocasia cucullata, Colocasia rugosa, Panzhuyuia omeiensis


Alocasia: from the Greek a- (without) and locasia (lotus root)
Cucullata: from the Latin cucullātus (hooded)

Alocasia cucullata

Source: Own work | CC BY 4.0

Alocasia cucullata
Botanic Garden Meise




Culture only


USDA zones 7-10

The plant dies back when it freezes but growth resumes in spring.



Nutritious and moist


Sun, partial shade


Abundant water, soil may be wet and even grown even in a pond


Fertilize regularly during growing season, e.g. once a week with liquid universal fertilizer


The plant is poisonous in all parts. Contact with juice on bare skin can cause irritation.


Seed, suckers

Sowing instructions:

  • surface sow in light and moist mixture
  • 21-29 °C
  • germination time: 1-2 weeks