Caladium bicolor (Aiton) Vent.

Last updated: 07 Apr 2016

Scientific Name

Caladium bicolor (Aiton) Vent.


Alocasia rex N.E.Br. [Invalid], Alocasia roezlii N.E.Br., Arum bicolor Aiton, Arum pellucidum Fulchir ex Kunth [Invalid], Arum pulchrum Salisb., Arum vermitoxicum Vell., Caladium albopunctatissimum Jacob-Makoy ex H.Karst., Caladium amoenum Engl., Caladium appunianum Engl. [Invalid], Caladium argyrospilum Lem., Caladium barraquinii Hérincq, Caladium brongniartii Lem., Caladium chantinii Lem., Caladium concolor K.Koch, Caladium connaertii Engl., Caladium curwadlii Engl., Caladium devosianum Lem., Caladium discolor Engl., Caladium duchartrei Engl., Caladium dussii Sieber & Voss, Caladium eckhartii Lem. ex Engl., Caladium enkeanum K.Koch, Caladium firmulum Schott, Caladium gaerdtii K.Koch & Fint., Caladium griseoargenteum Engl., Caladium haageanum K.Koch, Caladium hendersonii Engl., Caladium hortulanum Bridsey, Caladium houbyanum Engl., Caladium houlletii Lem., Caladium jacquinii Ten., Caladium ketteleri Engl., Caladium kochii K.Koch, Caladium kramerianum Engl., Caladium laucheanum K.Koch, Caladium leopoldii Engl., Caladium lindenii Engl. [Invalid], Caladium macrophyllum Lem., Caladium marginatum K.Koch & C.D.Bouché, Caladium marmoratum Mathieu ex K.Koch, Caladium martersteigianum Engl., Caladium medioradiatum L.Linden & Rodigas, Caladium mirabile Lem., Caladium mooreanum Engl., Caladium neumannii Lem., Caladium ottonis Engl. [Invalid], Caladium pallidinervium Engl., Caladium pallidum K.Koch & C.D.Bouché. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Angel Wings, caladium, heart of Jesus, mother in law plant [2], fancy-leaved caladium [3]
India Sam taupe [3]
Indonesia Keladi berwarna, keladi hias [4]
Philippines Corazon de Maria [2][5]
Japan Karajiumu [3]
Hawaii Kalo Kalakoa [5]
Congo Eyeka la ngeie [3]
Yoruba Kooko obalufon, kooko oodua, kooko soponna [3].

Geographical Distributions

Caladium bicolor is native of Tropical America. It is now cultivated in all tropical countries and in the greenhouses of temperate regions. [6]

Botanical Description

C. bicolor is a member of the Araceae family. It is a small deciduous herbaceous plants which can reach up to 1m. The rhizomes are globose. The cataphylls are linear-lanceolate, subulate at the apex and measures 2.5–9.0 cm long and up to 1cm wide. [6]

The leaves are variable. The petioles are slender and vaginate in the basal part, measures 16-55 cm long. The sheaths are 4.5-13.0 cm long and up to 1.5 cm wide. The leaf blade is herbaceous, peltate, sagittate-ovate, acuminate and mucronate at the apex. Margins are often undulating and they measures up to 35 cm long and 17 cm wide. The upper surface of the leaves have spots of white, pink, red, purple or yellow, exhibiting much variation in colour and design. [6]

The peduncle is slender and measures up to 38 cm long. The basal part of spathe is coriaceous, tubular, green in colour and measures 2.5-4 cm long. The limbs are ovate, acuminate, thin, white or yellowish white and measures between 4.5-7 cm long and 2.5 cm wide. The spandix is obligue at its insertion; basal female part 1.0-1.8cm long; sterile part is constricted and 1–2cm long; the male part is clavate and white and measures 2.8-4.5 cm long. The synandria are quadrangular, slightly lobed, consisting of 4 stamens, 1.3-1.5 mm high and 1.5–1.8 mm in diameter; sterile syandria are oblong, circumference 5 mm long. The ovary is incompletely 2-celled, cylindrical, 1 mm high and 0.9 mm in diameter. They are crowned by a broader discoid style and a yellow crateriform stigma. [6]

The fruits are pink. [6]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

No documentation.

Traditional Use

In Nigeria the leaves and rhizomes are used as topical applications for boils, wounds and ulcers. They are also used as purgatives and in the treatment of convulsions. [7]

Besides the medicinal value, C. bicolor is planted as an ornamental. In addition, two varieties C. bicolour var. poecile and C. bicolour var. vellozianum have edible tubers. However, these tuber needs to be boiled several times before consumption. The latter in fresh form is used as an emetic and purgative in Brazil. [5]

Preclinical Data

No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

Toxic parts

Whole plant [2]


Raphides of water-insoluble calcium oxalate and unverified proteinaceous toxins. [2]

Risk management

The colourful leaves are attractive to young children especially toddlers. At this age they have the habit of putting things in their mouth and are faced with dangers of hurting themselves in this manner. It is wise for young family and families with young children to avoid planting this attractive plants and placing them within reach of these children. [2]

Poisonous clinical findings

Inflammatory reactions often with oedema and blistering. The victim suffers from burning sensation of the lips and mouth. In severe cases there may be hoarseness, dysphonia and dysphagia. The swelling of the tongue and throat can lead to blockage of the air passages which could lead to death if not attended immediately. [2]


Prehospital care [2][8]:

  1. Remove all traces of plant material from areas contaminated with it i.e. mouth, eye and skin, immediately. Rescuers should ensure they are protected from contact with these plant materials.
  2. Exposed areas should be copiously irrigates with water.
  3. If ingested, the mouth should be repeatedly rinsed with cool water or a demulcent.
  4. Provide analgesics if pain is severe.

Emergency Department care [2][8]:

  1. Oral exposure – Asses airway for any signs of compromise. Those without compromised airway can be given cold liquids, crushed ice or ice cream for relief. Keeping or swishing antihistamine liquid like diphenhydramine in the mouth can provide local anaesthetic and antihistaminic effects. Those with evidence of laryngeal oedema can be treated with antihistamines and observed or better admitted until oedema subsides.
  2. Eye exposures – Copious irrigation with water. Rule out corneal involvement by performing slit-lap examination with fluorescein staining.
  3. Skin exposures – Washing with soap and water suffice, and local wound care it there exist any wounds. Some people may develop contact dermatitis.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List.  Ver1.1. Caladium bicolor (Aiton) Vent. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Apr 07]. Available from:
  2. Nelson LS, Shih RD, Balick MJ. Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. 2nd ed. New York: Springer, 2007; p. 98-99.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p.16.
  4. Ambarwati S. Budi daya tanaman hias. Jakarta: Ganeca Exact, 2007; p. 45.
  5. Clay HF, Hubbard JC. The Hawai’i garden: Tropical exotics. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987; p. 38.
  6. Florschutz-De Waard JF. Flora of Suriname. Volume 6. Part 1. Netherlands: Van Eedenfonds, 1968; p. 55-56.
  7. Odugbemi T. Outlines and pictures of medicinal plants of Nigeria. Lagos: University of Lagos Press, 2006; p. 112.
  8. Oxalate Poisoning. [homepage on the internet]. No date. [cited 2011 Apr 20]. Available from: