Caladiums are native to tropical rain forests and the equatorial regions of South America and Latin America from southern Mexico to Peru. Some species are reported from the Caribbean island regions of Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles. Most species come from the Amazon basin in Brazil.
Caladiums are tuber-rooted tropical perennials grown for their large and showy leaves. Caladiums have no stems; the leaves are borne on long, 6-12 in [15-30.5 cm], petioles [leaf stems] that arise directly from the underground tuber. The petioles are attached to the leaves near the center, rather than at one end, a condition called peltate. Leaf shape, size and color vary among the hundreds of selections, but most are heart, lance or arrowhead shaped, 6-14 in [15-35.6 cm] long, and variously spotted or streaked with pink, red, gray, or white.
Caladium bicolor [Angel wings, Caladium, Fancy-leaved caladium, Heart of Jesus, Elephant ears] cultivated as potted plants for their colorful variegated foliage. The many cultivars of caladium (at least 1000 have been named!) were developed from the wild Caladium bicolor.
Photo: Jakarta, Indonesia 20110316