Mankochu or Giant taro (Alocasia macrorrhizos, family: Araceae) is a rhizomatous evergreen herb with soft, smooth and round stem up to 15-18 cm in diameter. Usually it can get a height of 1 to 2 m. It is one of the most popular vegetables in Bangladesh. The perennial plant is found everywhere in Bangladesh, especially in rural areas.
Common names: Giant alocasia, Elephant ear, Upright Elephant ear.
Upright leaves are gigantic and very attractive too; about 1 m long, green and heart-shaped, dented with pointed or round end, petiole is almost 1 m long covering the stem.
Inflorescence is a spadix, small flowers are covered with spathe. Spathe is divided in to two parts, upper part is 20-25 cm long and the lower is 3-5 cm long. Flower blooms in the autumn (Sep-Oct). Fruit is orange or reddish.
Propagation is by rhizome. It is planted mainly in rainy season. Its fleshy frond and leaves are used as vegetable which is nutritious.
It reduces constipation, allergy, piles, sore in tongue and ear. The stem is eaten to produce rheumatic pain. Powder of dry stem cures jaundice. It is also used when the stomach is upset. The stem and petiole contain protein, Vitamin B & C and iron.
It can be planted in the garden and park for its extraordinary beautiful leaves. It is found in India, South and Southeast Asia as well as the Pacific islands.