Hawaiian Name(s): ‘ape, ‘ape hiwa, ‘ape ‘ele‘ele

Scientific Name: Alocasia macrorrhizos

Vernacular Name: elephant's ear

Family: Araceae

Status: Polynesian introduction

Authority: (L.) G.Don

Description: Large herbs, to 5 m tall.

Habitat Occurs mostly in low elevation mesic valleys, along streams or other types of wet sites (Wagner et al. 1990:1356).

Medicines: The meat of the corm used to treat burns and broken skin. A liquid is made from the peeled stem that is used as a purgative for stomachaches. ‘Ape leaves used as a wrap to induce sweating for fever reduction (Abbott 1992:98). Specifically for ‘ape ‘ele‘ele, a treatment for ‘ako o ka puka ‘okole i ka mane‘o i ka naio (from pinworms), the flesh is combined with leaves of the ‘uhaloa (Waltheria indica), and green kukui nut flesh (Aleurites moluccana), and used as an ointment (Chun 1994:46).

Non Medicinal Uses: Corm used as a famine food (Abbott 1992:43).

Specific gravity of wood: n/a

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau: ‘Ai no i ka ‘ape he mane‘o no ko ka nuku. He who eats the ‘ape is bound to have his mouth itch. He who indulges in some thing harmful will surely reap the result.

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau:

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information: