Colocasia esculenta - Elephant ear, Taro, Dasheen
About six species of Colocasia
are native to Asia. They are small herbaceous
plants from wet areas, usually under four feet tall. Colocasia esculenta is variable and has been described as several
species in the past. It is the most important of these species for its use as a
garden ornamental and also for its use as food. ‘Black Magic’ is a popular
variety with dark purple leaves. Small yellow flowers, reminescent of a peace
lily flower, can be found under the leaves. The rhizomes and young leaves are
eaten. Taro is reported to be highly digestible and nutritious when cooked. Raw
taro contains irritating compounds that are destroyed by cooking or
fermentation. As a garden ornamental, taro is available in several forms with
various colors and markings on the leaf blades and stalks.
See this plant, the cultivar ‘Black Magic,’ at the Building 1 fountain.
Herbaceous plant with leaves to about two to four feet tall.
Light: full sun to part sun
Water: moist to flooded soil
Soil: adaptable provided the soil is moist
Colocasia is easy to grow in a sunny, moist site. In Jacksonville, Colocasia dies to the ground in winter
and resprouts the following spring.