7 Differences Between Alocasia Melo & Alocasia Maharani

alocasia melo vs maharani

The two aroid houseplants Alocasia Melo and Alocasia Maharani are thick, richly textured elephant ears. Both are green, share a similar shape in leaf and habit, and need the same care. These traits make them difficult to tell apart at first. But with closer inspection, you’ll easily tell the difference.

Though both dwarf or jewel elephant ears, they have diverging sizes, leaf shapes, venation, and petioles. They also have different shades of green on their top sides and colors for the undersides and veins.

Here are those traits broken down in detail. With these, you will know which species you’re looking at while shopping for a new plant. 

1. Plant and Leaf Size

The Alocasia Melo (Alocasia Rugosa), which goes by the same scientific name, grows up to two feet (61 cm) tall. Their leaves grow almost as tall as the stems, which are petioles attaching the leaves to the underground rhizome. The leaves get up to 10 in (25 cm) long.

Alocasia Mahani, which also has the same scientific name as its common name, grows small in stature. Both plants are jewel alocasia, yet even compared to the Melo, the Maharani is shorter. It grows up to 14 in (36 cm) in total. The leaves can get 8 in (20 cm) long.

Both plants grow slowly.

If you compare two younger individuals or you aren’t sure how mature one is versus the other, using plant and leaf sizes can be difficult.

Lighting also alters the proportions of the plant.

If it hasn’t been getting enough light, it may have long petioles but small leaves. Healthy Alocasia Melos and Alocasia Maharanis have compact bodies and large leaves.

2. Leaf Shape

While some individual leaves will have less pronounced differences, you’ll still see a typical shape difference.

Alocasia Melo is rounder, and Alocasia Maharani is more pointed.

Both plants have a pointed tip and lobes near the petiole. They also have an ovate shape where the widest point is between the base and halfway down the leaf. Immature leaves of both species will also have similar rounded outlines.

But with mature leaves, you’ll see other differences.

An Alocasia Melo will have a smoother margin. Meanwhile, an Alocasia Maharani has more waviness at the leaf base. 

3. Topside Leaf Color

Alocasia Melo tends to have a deeper green, while Alocasia Maharani has a grayer green.

Some individual plants make the difference obvious. Yet sometimes, you may need to compare the species side by side, as both can be dark, grayish green.

When comparing leaf color, only compare mature, healthy leaves.

Immature leaves will have a generic medium green and lack other features, like texture and thickness. And in the winter, when the plant enters dormancy or when the plant is overwatered, it can become pale.

4. Underside Leaf Color

Do you find yourself doubting if you have a correct identification from the leaf shape or topside leaf color?

The underside color makes the conclusion easier.

Alocasia Melo has pale green undersides. 

Alocasia Maharani has a high contrast underside. The veins show light green, but the rest of the leaf surface is purplish red.

Young leaves may also have some reddishness, but they are harder to judge. You may not see if the subtle color in poor lighting or the individual leaf has yet to start transitioning.

5. Venation Color

The venation color is the most reliable distinction between Alocasia Melo and Alocasia Maharani.

Alocasia Melo has darker veins that almost match the rest of the leaf surface or lamella. Sometimes the veins will be darker or appear darker because they are so indented, and the lamella blocks light from indirect angles.

Alocasia Maharani has lighter-colored veins. The large veins are also broader and less embedded than the Alocasia Melo. The veins have more access to light and reflect a brighter color.

6. Venation Pattern

If you study the venation, you’ll notice a pattern within the branching.

Both plants have prominent midrib and secondary veins arching to the edge of the leaf. But Alocasia Melo is deeper into the lamella and has more unpredictable branching of the smaller veins. You can also look at it and think about a walnut or a brain.

Alocasia Maharani has shallower veins and more predictable branching. The smaller veins look like feathers or zippers along the larger veins that arch from the midrib to the margin. Many smaller veins meet halfway between the larger veins, especially as they reach farther from the midrib.

7. Petiole Markings

The Alocasia Melo has consistent coloration. You can look at it and see the darker green leaf and venation and the lighter green of everything else. The lighter green applies to the petiole, too. Its entire length is the same pale lime green as the leaf veins.

But the Alocasia Maharani has several colors. When it comes to the petiole, it sometimes mixes the venation green with spots of the underside pink.

Not all plants will have markings. But if you check the petiole, especially near where it pokes out of the soil, you might see a few spots.


With these seven traits, you should tell the difference between Alocasia Melo and Alocasia Maharani. These plants native to Southeast Asia make an excellent addition to your home. Provide well-draining soil, warmth, plenty of humidity, and bright indirect light, and they’ll do well.

If you plan to collect different varieties, now you know when you’re looking at an Alocasia Melo or an Alocasia Maharani.

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