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Alocasia macrorrhizos is a species of flowering plant in the arum family, Araceae, that it is native to rainforests from Malaysia to Queensland and has long been cultivated on many Pacific islands and elsewhere in the tropics. Common names include giant taro, ʻape, giant alocasia and pai. In Australia it is known as the cunjevoi (although that term also refers to a marine animal).
It is edible if cooked for a long time but its sap irritates the skin due to calcium oxalate crystals, or raphides which are needle like. Alocasia species are commonly found in marketplaces in Samoa and Tonga and other parts of Polynesia. The varieties recognized in Tahiti are the Ape oa, haparu, maota, and uahea. The giant heart-shaped leaves make impromptu umbrellas in tropical downpours.
The Hawaiian saying: ʻAi no i ka ʻape he maneʻo no ka nuku (The eater of ʻape will have an itchy mouth) means “there will be consequences for partaking of something bad”.
In a 2012 study, it was found out that the domesticated giant taro originated from the Philippines.