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Plants of the UNF Campus

Colocasia esculenta - Elephant ear, Taro, Dasheen
Family Araceae


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.

Care Instructions:

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. 

Colocasia esculenta