Caladium is a very popular genus of the Aroid family, which includes the Alocasia, Colocasia, Xanthosema, or commonly called taro. Caladium species has been popular for the beautiful shapes, venations and variegations on the leaves, which has been done through years of breeding. There are 3 general leaf shapes as fancy, spade or strap; fancy are the widest and with 2 lobes at the base (e.g. photos below). The strap leaf is more elongated and devoid of the lobes. Spade is the shape in between.
I am sure most of us know this plant or has at one time been cultivating this in their gardens. It is a tropical plant whose hybrids already acclimatized with the temperate and subtropical zones. It is said that today the most chazed after hybrids are from Thailand, which developed the best characteristics wanted for Caladium. It turned out that through the years the Thailand Palace has been hybridizing this for their use, and just lately shared them with the world. Aside from the beautiful venations, spots, or colors, their hybrids have thick and shiny leaves, short petioles and produce more leaves in their generation before succumbing to dormancy or rest. These qualities make them more sought after in the market. I've just browsed on their hybrids and Caladium 'suvarnabhumi' is really very beautiful. Suvarnabhumi is an ancient name of Thailand and is also the name of its international airport. So the caladium hybrid namesake must carry the qualities of a prestigious name.
My caladiums are the old common varieties, left on its own, sometimes watered but mostly not. The photos here are the volunteers which just grow anywhere on the property. Sometimes they are even eaten by animals roaming around especially the goat's kids. But they thrive for several years now just left on the ground. Every rainy season they seem to be very happy.
These are all from the fancy leaf types exemplified by the Caladium tricolor, maybe the oldest of them. But still it gives a garden a beautiful color mix.
This looks also special with those little white
patches at the center
patches at the center
This one has a nice leaf form. And it somehow showed 2 colors only. I am not sure if this came from a C. tricolor. There is the C. bicolor too, but it is green with white spots. We also have that in the property, but i can't see its picture from my files.
But can anyone explain what happened to this one!!! The original leaves are the normal variegations as in above photo, but through time it showed this one, pinkish leathery leaf with only very thin green color at the margins. Maybe somehow, there was a gene for mutation. It is a phenomenon much sought after by ornamentalists, as certainly beautiful colorful mutations are beautiful too in gardens!
This fat larvae is not aware that he is trampling on a forbidden path. But it's survival of the fittest, so it must do its nature. We just contend with his remnants as another art form, "caterpillar art"!
Thai Caladium reference on growing and breeding instructions and beautiful photo gallery of their hybrids please visit http://caladiumflorahobby.blogspot.com