These plants are all volunteers in the neglected areas of the property. However, the first plant served as property boundary and also serve as soil erosion control. You can see that at its back grows a lot of several forest species. Other plants also grow with several plants in the wild.
Banaba, giant crape myrtle or Lagerstroemia speciosa
This is an old volunteer tree in our property, more than 50 yrs old with bottom trunk diameter of ~2ft. I am not good in estimating height, but maybe about the height of a 4storey building. The left is the bottom trunk, lower right is the mid-trunk with branches and the top right is the canopy with flowers. It is endemic to the country, not considered endangered yet. Those we see in parks of colder countries are already hybrids, early to flower and not very tall.
Its leaves have therapeutic or medicinal properties for kidney troubles and very popular here in the country. Despite its origins in the Philippines, India and SE Asia, it is considered naturalized US plant and is considered official shrub of Texas.
Elephant ear, giant taro or Alocasia macrorrhiza
Our local term for this is "biga", in contrast to the common taro, "gabi". It is nice to have the syllables just interchanged in calling 2 plants with almost the same morphology. It also has corms, which sometimes are cooked lengthily as pig feeds. The specimens above differ in leaf morphology and might be of different variety or form. Its sap is very dangerous at contact that children evade them totally. However, in times of famine or war it can also be considered emergency food when cooked fully well. I agree that they are beautiful as ornamental plants, however in our country it is not utilized as such for safety. Its sap contains oxalate crystals toxic to animals and humans.
elephant yam or Amorphophallus campanulatus
Amorphophallus campanulatus got the name because of the very prominent spadix. This is a large aroid genus, where the biggest flower of Titan arum (A. titanum) belongs. It has a big carbohydrate-rich roots underground called tubers. Only one leaf emerges and lasts for one season. That stem-like part in the photo is the petiole of the single leaf. In times of food shortage, this serves as an emergency food. That was the story of my late father as relayed to him by his father as experienced during the Japanese occupation. This plant dries totally during the dry season, but sprouts after the first heavy rains. The flower emerges first followed by the leaf. It only produces one flower per plant per year.
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