Genus: Taro

Colocasia

Photo/Illustration: 
Jennifer Benner
Taro (Colocasia)
kol-oh-KAY-shah
Araceae
The genus Colocasia includes six species of tuberous perennials from tropical Asia, grown there as a staple food. They are native to swamps and other moist areas and can be used in large aquatic containers in the garden or in the ground in moist soil. The arrow-shaped, sometimes rounded, leaves are large and mostly green, sometimes with prominent veins. Cultivated plants rarely bloom. All plant parts may cause stomach upset if eaten raw, and the sap may irritate skin.  
Noteworthy characteristics:  Likes wet soil. Large foliage plant. The Hawaiian food poi is made from the tubers.
Care:  In the garden, taro needs fertile, organically rich, moist or wet, slightly acidic soil in partial shade. Indoors, grow in bright filtered light and high humidity. Keep tubers dry and frost-free when dormant.
Propagation: 

Divide in winter or early spring.

Problems: 

Soft rot, bacterial blight, corm and root rots, and dasheen mosaic virus are common, while aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites also occur.

Species, varieties and clutivars for genus Colocasia

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Dwarf elephant's ear
Colocasia affinis var. jenningsii
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Taro
Colocasia esculenta
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'Black Beauty' elephant's ears
Colocasia esculenta 'Black Beauty'
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Elephant ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic'
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'Coffee Cups' elephant's ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Coffee Cups'
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'Diamond Head' elephant's ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Diamond Head'
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'Elena' elephant's ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Elena'
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Black stem elephant's ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Fontanesii'
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'Heart of the Jungle' elephant's ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Heart of the Jungle'
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'Hilo Bay' elephant's ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Hilo Bay'
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'Illustris' elephant's ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Illustris'
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'Mojito' elephant's ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito'
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'Rhubarb' elephant's ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Rhubarb'
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'Tiger Stripe' elephant's ear
Colocasia esculenta 'Tiger Stripe'
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‘Thailand Giant’ elephant's ears
Colocasia esculenta ‘Thailand Giant’