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:

Coco yam
Elephant’s ear


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.


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.


Heavy and moist


1 to 2,5 m


Shade to partial shade

Colocasia esculenta


Division of the tubercule

Planting instructions:

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


  • 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


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