Xanthosoma is not typically thought of as a houseplant. In tropical countries, they are farmed for their starchy tubers, and almost everywhere else they are the collectors' plants known as elephant ears and grown in botanical gardens and greenhouses. But with the increasing availability of rare plants, Xanthosoma is worth a long, hard look. These plants feature sometimes very large arrow-shaped leaves, as well as some of the most striking, elegant leaves in the plant kingdom. With their expanses of green, their graceful draping, and their lovely form, Xanthosoma is the essence of the rainforest.An herbaceous perennial, Xanthosoma sagittifolium has a corm or main underground stem in the form of a rhizome from which swollen secondary shoots, or cormels, sprout. The spadix (a spike of minute flowers) is cylindrical, with female flowers on the lower portion, male flowers on the upper portion and sterile flowers in the middle portion. The growth cycle lasts from 9 to 11 months: during the first six months the corms and leaves develop; in the last four months, the foliage remains stable and, when it begins to dry, the plants are ready for the cormels to be harvested.