Xanthosoma brasiliense (Desf.) Engl.

First published in Pflanzenr., IV, 23E: 58 (1920)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Caribbean to N. South America. It is a tuberous geophyte and grows primarily in the seasonally dry tropical biome. It is used as a medicine, has environmental uses and for food.


CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011. araceae.e-monocot.org


It is always associated with human settlements, mostly in West Indies. The epithet seems to be an error, since it has been never found or popularly cultivated in Brazil and the only specimens seen here were brought by me a few years ago. Easily identified because it is the only cultivated species with strongly hastate to subpedate leaf blade that are quite distinctive (Fig. 9). It could only be confused with other wild species with hastate or pedately lobed leaf blade, but most of them have round corms and are much smaller. Although its leaves are usually reputed to be edible (Plowman, 1969), they were not found to be eaten in Trinidad (Boos & Boos, 1993). This species is also broadly cultivated in the Miami area, essentially as an ornamental crop, sometimes reaching an impressive size.

General Description

Plant up to 2 m tall in ancient individuals, but rarely reaching 1 m. Stems always hypogeous, rhizomatous, cylindrical, up to 6 cm in diameter, moderately covered by brown fibers, producing occasional globose-turbinate cormels. Leaves 3-4  per plant; petioles 45-95 cm long, green, sometimes tinged with purplish at base, never conspicuously waxy, sheathed up to 1/3 of its length, sheath convolute with purplish margins; leaf blade 19-33.5 x 21-39 cm, sub-hastate to hastate in young leaves, hastate to subpedate in adult plants, glossy green adaxially, clearer and matte abaxially, primary lateral veins 4-7 per side, arising at an angle of 40-45°, concolorous with blade at both sides, apex acuminate; basal ribs denuded for 2.5-6 cm, basal lobes strongly extrorse, obtuse to round at apex. Inflorescences 1-2 per axil, peduncle 20-25 x .5 cm; spathe 18-19 cm long, tube 5 x 2.5 cm, green outside, white inside, lamina 13-14 x 3 cm long, white in both sides; spadix 14-16 cm long, fertile male portion white 10 x 1-1.5 cm, acute at apex, sterile male portion 3.5 x 1.1 cm, white, weakly dimorphic, female portion 2-3 x 1 cm, pale yellow.


Extinction risk predictions for the world's flowering plants to support their conservation (2024). Bachman, S.P., Brown, M.J.M., Leão, T.C.C., Lughadha, E.N., Walker, B.E. https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nph.19592

Predicted extinction risk: not threatened. Confidence: confident

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

Cultivada en Colombia; Alt. 100 m.
Morphology General Habit

Elevation range: 100–100 m a.s.l. Cultivated in Colombia. Native to Colombia. Colombian departments: Guainía, Vichada.
Habitat according IUCN Habitats Classification: forest and woodland.


Use Environmental
Environmental uses.
Use Gene Sources
Used as gene sources.
Use Food
Used for food.
Use Medicines
Medical uses.

Common Names

Carib Cabbage


  • Angiosperm Extinction Risk Predictions v1

    • Angiosperm Threat Predictions
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
  • CATE Araceae

    • Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 17 Dec 2011.
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

    • ColPlantA 2021. Published on the Internet at http://colplanta.org
    • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Living Collection Database

    • Common Names from Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com/
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia

    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0