Colocasia gigantea plant

Colocasia gigantea plant
Source: Dick Culbert

Colocasia gigantea or Giant Elephant Ear is taro species with enormous leaves.

It appears to be the result of a natural cross between Colocasia esculenta and Alocasia macrorrhizos.

The root of this plant is quite hardy, growth resumes in the spring.

It can be grown in the garden or in a pot, overwinter indoors or outdoors and be grown as a houseplant (if you have enough space for this giant).

There are a few varieties in the trade whose leaves are even bigger, like Colocasia gigantea Thailand strain .

Description:

Colocasia gigantea is an herb that grows up to 1.5-3 m.

The petiole is up to 2.5 m long, light green, frosted. The leaf is white frosted beneath, the top is green or light green, ovate to heart-shaped, 25-250 cm long and 17-150 cm wide, with a wavy edge, heart-shaped at the base and pointy at the tip.

About 5-13 inflorescences appear from the leaf axils. The flower stalk is frosted, cylindrical, 30-80 cm long and 1-2 cm in diameter. The spathe is 12-24 cm long, the tube is green, elliptic, 3-6 cm long and 1.5-2 cm in diameter, the upper lid is white, oval, 8-19 cm long and 2-3 cm wide . The spadix is 9-2 cm long. Female zone white to cream-colored, sterile zone 3-4.5 cm long and narrow, male zone 5-14 cm long. Flowering occurs in late spring.

The fruit is an oval berry of 5-10 mm in diameter. Seeds are numerous. The fruit appears in autumn.

Use:

The stalks are eaten as a vegetable.

The fruit is eaten raw or used as a seasoning.

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Giant Elephant Ear, Giant Taro, Green Taro

Synonyms:

Caladium giganteum, Leucocasia gigantea

Etymology:

Colocasia: from the Greek kolokasia (root of the Eastern Indian lotus)
Gigantea: from the Latin giganteus (gigantic)

Origin:

South-East Asia



Habitat:

Lower mountainous areas, in shady and humid places, up to 1,000 m altitude

Hardiness:

USDA zone 8-11
The aerial part dies with frost but the underground tuber withstands frost and growth resumes next spring. In colder USDA zones 6 and 7 the bulb can survive if provided with winter protection (mulch).

Colocasia gigantea inflorescence

Colocasia gigantea inflorescence
Source: Dick Culbert

Care:

Soil:

Heavy clay soil, moist, marshy

Exposure:

Partial shade to shade. Full sun if kept moist enough.

Water:

Likes moist to wet soil, never let it dry out.

Feed:

In the garden: provide with copious amounts of organic feed or humus in spring
In pot: provide universal liquid fertilizer weekly during growing season, monthly during winter

Propagation:

Division, seed

Sowing instructions:

  • preferably use soil less substrate to prevent rot
  • surface sow
  • moisten
  • 20-25 °C
  • repot when seedlings are big enough to handle

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