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Colocasia

 

Dasheen, Cocoyam, Elephant Ears    (a name applied to multiple similar species), Wild-Taro (ditto)

Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott

call-oh-CAZE-ee-ah ess-cue-LEN-tah

 

Explanation of name: Colocasia is an ancient name (WA1). Esculenta means edible.

 

Natural range: Exact origins unclear, in Tropical Asia

Recognition: Among the large-leaved, arrowhead-shaped-leaved Aroids, Colocasia is distinguished by having the leaf stalk (petiole) attached well toward the center of the blade, not at or near its edge.

 

That is, the attachment is peltate. Caladiums likewise have peltate leaves but have distinctive multi-hue coloration patterns and usually smaller dimensions.

Key to the Large-Leaved “Elephant-Ears” Aroids Prominent in South Florida

1. Petioles attached at or near the basal leaf notch…2

 

1. Petioles with peltate attachment (away from the edge, toward thecenter of the blade)…3

2. Leaf bases with especially large and exaggerated lobes, having convex margins in the notch; petioles attached at the notch…Xanthosoma

 

2. Leaf bases triangular or narrowly triangular, the notch margins usually straight or concave (with exceptions); petioles usually separated from the notch by a narrow web of tissue (at least when young)…Alocasia

3. Leaf blades with showy, complex coloration patterns featuring some combinations of green, reddish colors, and white…Caladium

3. Leaf blades green, solidly purplish or nearly black, or green with white centers…Colocasia

 

Numerous cultivars of this species (and a small number derived from C. affinis, C. fontenesii, and C. nancyana) are tissue-cultured, distributed, and cultivated ornamentally in Florida. Presumably (but in need of further investigation) the colorful cultivars are not well adapted to Florida natural areas and probably will not establish as pests. A major source of Colocasia cultivars is AgriStarts in Apopka 

‘Black Magic’ has dark purple-black leaves

‘Black Ruffles’ is similar with ruffled leaves

‘Nancyana’ has a white eye at the center of the leaf

‘Rhubarb’, ‘Red Stem’, and ‘Violet Stem’ have reddish petioles

 

Landscape uses: An important food source in tropical regions for its fleshy base (corm), Colocasia esculenta is an invasive exotic listed as Category I by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.

Botanical

English

FL native

Growth form

 

Cultural conditions

 

Problems

 

 

Colocasia

esculenta

Cocoyam

Dasheen

Elephant-Ears

Wild-Taro

 

Exotic

Perennial

MO

SH-SU

FEPPC I

   

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