Colocasia esculenta

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Colocasia esculenta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Colocasiodeae
Genus: Colocasia
Species: C. esculenta
Binomial name
Colocasia esculenta
(L.) Schott
  • Alocasia dussii Dammer
  • Alocasia illustris W.Bull
  • Aron colocasium (L.) St.-Lag.
  • Arum chinense L.
  • Arum colocasia L.
  • Arum colocasioides Desf.
  • Arum esculentum L.
  • Arum lividum Salisb.
  • Arum nymphaeifolium (Vent.) Roxb.
  • Arum peltatum Lam.
  • Caladium acre R.Br.
  • Caladium colocasia (L.) W.Wight nom. illeg.
  • Caladium colocasioides (Desf.) Brongn.
  • Caladium esculentum (L.) Vent.
  • Caladium glycyrrhizum Fraser
  • Caladium nymphaeifolium Vent.
  • Caladium violaceum Desf.
  • Caladium violaceum Engl.
  • Calla gaby Blanco
  • Calla virosa Roxb.
  • Colocasia acris (R.Br.) Schott
  • Colocasia aegyptiaca Samp.
  • Colocasia colocasia (L.) Huth nom. inval.
  • Colocasia euchlora K.Koch & Linden
  • Colocasia fonstanesii Schott
  • Colocasia gracilis Engl.
  • Colocasia himalensis Royle
  • Colocasia neocaledonica Van Houtte
  • Colocasia nymphaeifolia (Vent.) Kunth
  • Colocasia peltata (Lam.) Samp.
  • Colocasia vera Hassk.
  • Colocasia violacea (Desf.) auct.
  • Colocasia virosa (Roxb.) Kunth
  • Colocasia vulgaris Raf.
  • Leucocasia esculenta (L.) Nakai
  • Steudnera virosa (Roxb.) Prain
  • Zantedeschia virosa (Roxb.) K.Koch

Colocasia esculenta is a tropical plant grown primarily for its edible corms, the root vegetables most commonly known as taro. It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants.[4] Linnaeus originally described two species which are now known as Colocasia esculenta and Colocasia antiquorum of the cultivated plants that are known by many names including eddoes, dasheen, taro, but many later botanists consider them all to be members of a single, very variable species, the correct name for which is Colocasia esculenta.[5][6]



This plant and its root is generally called taro, but it has different names in different countries like for instance eddoe. In the Philippines, it is usually called Gabi, Abi or Avi.


Rhizomes of different shapes and sizes. Leaves up to 40×24.8 cm, sprouts from rhizome, dark green above and light green beneath, triangular-ovate, sub-rounded and mucronate at apex, tip of the basal lobes rounded or sub-rounded. Petiole 0.8 -1.2 m high. Spathe up to 25 cm long. Spadix about 3/5 as long as the spathe, flowering parts up to 8 mm in diameter. Female portion at the fertile ovaries intermixed with sterile white ones. Neuters above the females, rhomboid or irregular oblong. Male portion above the neuter. Synandrium lobed, cells 6 or 8. Appendage shorter than the male portion.


The specific epithet, esculenta, means "edible" in Latin.

Taro is related to Xanthosoma and Caladium, plants commonly grown as ornamentals, and like them it is sometimes loosely called elephant ear.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Taro was probably first native to the lowland wetlands of Malaysia (taloes). Estimates are that taro was in cultivation in wet tropical India before 5000 BC, presumably coming from Malaysia, and from India further transported westward to ancient Egypt, where it was described by Greek and Roman historians as an important crop. In India, it is known as "Gaderi", with smaller ones called "arbi" or "arvi" being more common and popular. In Indonesia, it is called talas or keladi.

In Australia, Colocasia esculenta var. aquatilis is native to the Kimberley region of Western Australia; variety esculenta is naturalised in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.

In Turkey, Colocasia esculenta is locally known as "gölevez" and mainly grown on the Mediterranean coast, such as the Alanya district of Antalya.

In the southeastern USA, this plant is recognized as an invasive species.[7][8][9][10]


Main articles: Taro and Eddoe

Taro's primary use is the consumption of its edible corm and leaves. In its raw form, the plant is toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate,[11][12] and the presence of needle-shaped raphides in the plant cells. However, the toxin can be minimized and the tuber rendered palatable by cooking,[13] or by steeping in cold water overnight.

Corms of the small round variety are peeled and boiled, sold either frozen, bagged in its own liquids, or canned. The leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals. It is also sold as an ornamental aquatic plant. It is also used for Anthocyanin study experiments especially with reference to abaxial and adaxial anthocyanic concentration.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ T. K. Lim (3 December 2014). Edible Medicinal and Non Medicinal Plants: Volume 9, Modified Stems, Roots, Bulbs. Springer. pp. 1036 pages. ISBN 978-94-017-9511-1. :454–460
  2. ^ "Colocasia esculenta (L. ) Schott". Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Umberto Quattrocchi (19 April 2016). CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology (5 Volume Set). CRC Press. pp. 3960 pages. ISBN 978-1-4822-5064-0. :1060–1061
  4. ^ Country profile: Samoa, New Agriculturist Online, accessed June 12, 2006
  5. ^ Albert F. Hill (1939), "The Nomenclature of the Taro and its Varieties", Botanical Museum Leaflets, Harvard University, 7 (7): 113–118 
  6. ^ USDA GRIN Taxonomy, retrieved 24 April 2015 
  7. ^ "Invasive Plants to Watch for in Georgia" (PDF). Georgia Invasive Species Task Force. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Colocasia esculenta.
  9. ^ Colocasia esculenta, Florida Invasive Plants
  10. ^ Colocasia esculenta, University of Florida
  11. ^ Weird Foods from around the World Archived April 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ ASPCA: Animal Poison Control Center: Toxic Plant List
  13. ^ The Morton Arboretum Quarterly, Morton Arboretum/University of California, 1965, p. 36.
  14. ^ "Photosynthetic costs and benefits of abaxial versus adaxial anthocyanins in Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito'". Planta. 240: 971–981. doi:10.1007/s00425-014-2090-6. 

External links[edit]