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A picture of a Taro


Colocasia spp.

Also known as

Elephant Ear, Cocoyam, West Indian kale

Songe-Réunion by Thierry Caro (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Partial Shade
Moderate care
Frequent watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








10 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Taro

A close up of some arrow-shaped green Colocasia leaves
A green Colocasia plant in a garden
The white flower spathe of a Colocasia plant
A hand next to a large green Colocasia leaf
A photo of Taro

Taro Overview

Colocasia as a genus is one of three similar genera that originate from Malaysia. Its members can be deciduous or evergreen, tuberous-rooted perennials. It is often found growing along river banks and has a dormant period during the dry season in places like South Africa. Colocasia species have large, round or arrow-shaped leaves, often with conspicuous veins. Insignificant flowering spathes are rarely in cultivation. Colocasias can be used effectively as marginal plantings in ponds and lakes. They grow best out of full sunlight and thrive in wet soil. All parts poisonous if eaten uncooked, and leaves may irritate skin.

Common problems with Taro

This species has a constant battle with hornworms (Hawk moth caterpillar) and cutworms. The best method to control them is to remove them by hand and to keep monitoring them regularly. Other problems that occur with this species is tuber rot if kept wet over winter, and southern blight.

How to harvest Taro

Harvest fruit or seeds after flowering period and sow immediately as the seeds do not store very well.

How to propagate Taro


Red seeds with a fleshy seed coat emerge after pollination. The seeds are extremely viable and will germinate after two weeks after sowing immediately. Remember to remove the fleshy seed coat before sowing the seeds as the seed coat inhibits germination.


Divide corms or collect offsets during the dormancy period.

Special features of Taro

Attracts birds

Birds are attracted to the edible fruits.

Pot plant

This plant grows well in potted containers. The potted plant can even be placed and submerged in the water of a shallow pond and placed in full sun in warm climates.

Wet sites

Grows well when used as a marginal plant along rivers and ponds.

Attractive leaves

Other uses of Taro

Grown for their foliage.


Every part of this plant is edible, but it must be thoroughly boiled or steamed to rid it of toxins (Calcium oxalate crystals).

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