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Alocasia brisbanensis

Beautiful but potentially deadly

Cunjevoi is an easily recognisable understorey lily favouring moist, boggy areas.  It belongs to the Araceae family.

Sometimes known as ‘native elephant ear’, cunjevoi grows up to two metres in height with unusually large, fleshy, spade-shaped leaves.  Each leaf blade can grow up to one metre long.  The leaves are an important host for at least four species of hawk moth.

The central flower is both fragrant and large, resembling an arum lily. Juicy sweet smelling red fruit grow promptly after flowering. The fruits are a food source for several native birds, including Lewin’s Honeyeater (Meliphaga lewini).

All parts of the plant are considered toxic.  Exposure can cause severe irritation and is potentially poisonous. There is evidence of some Aboriginal groups in Queensland roasting and mashing parts of the cunjevoi prior to consumption to remove its toxicity. Others say that the juice of the plant can be applied to giant stinging tree burns, but the sap may do as much damage as the stinging tree.

Appreciate the beautiful cunjevoi from a distance!