Colocasia esculenta leaf

Source: Wildfeuer

Colocasia esculenta leaf

Colocasia esculenta or Elephant’s Ear is grown in tropical regions around the world for its edible tuber.

It needs swampy conditions: very humid soil or in a pond.

The tuber as well as young sprouts are edible but only after thorough cooking as all parts of this plant are toxic!

The leaves are spectacular and can be 60-70 cm long, even longer than 1 meter for some species which are frequently used as umbrellas against heavy tropical rain.

Common names:

Taro
Coco yam
Elephant’s ear

Origin:

It seems to have originated in Asia but was spread in prehistory through Oceania and tropical America. It has been introduced quite recently in Africa.

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 8, -15 °C
The aerial part will die from frost but the tubercule will resist to -15 °C and sprout again next Spring.
It needs at least 15 °C to have persistent foliage.

Soil:

Heavy and moist

Height:

1 to 2,5 m

Exposure:

Shade to partial shade

Colocasia esculenta

Propagation:

Division of the tubercule

Planting instructions:

  • plant in the Spring
  • in the garden or in a pot to keep as a patio plant

Care:

  • prefers a moist to wet soil
  • water and feed plenty to get a very strong growth
  • prefers semi-shade but will resist to full sun if water sufficiently
  • can be kept as an house plant if not kept too close to the heating system

Remark:

You can buy the tubercules at any African or Asian grocery or store: it is much cheaper and they will sprout easily.

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