Common Name : Caladium
Scientific Name: various including Caladium x hortulanum
Description: Most, if not all, of the currently grown plants are of hybrid origin, with several wild species involved, chiefly Caladium bicolor. The common names include mother-in-law plant, elephant's ear, and angel wings. Most are simply referred to as Caladiums. The tuberous herb is native of tropical American regions but is now chiefly grown in central Florida. Dr. Nehrling, the founder of the Caribbean Gardens, is generally credited with introducing the plant to Florida agriculture and approximately five of the varieties he developed are still in commercial production. The exact number of varieties Nehrling developed is well over fifty. You can read more about Dr. Nehrling on the zoo's history page as well as this press release from Florida Department of Agriculture.In the Naples area, the plants develop during the summer months (April to October) but in protected places some leaves are maintained throughout the year. Originally Caladiums were considered to be "shade lovers" but several varieties have been developed to thrive in full sun.
Range: Tropical South America
Recommended LINKS & BOOKS
A great resource for botanical information is Botanica which you can order from Amazon.com at this link. This text features beautiful color photos and descriptions of over 10,000 garden plants. It is also available to order on CD from Canada.