Wild Taro

Colocasia esculenta

Description: perennial forb that originates from a large corm and can grow to 4 ft. (1.5 m) in height.  Leaves, supported by 3 ft. (1 m) long petioles, are arrowhead shaped, up to 2 ft. (0.6 m) long and 1.6 ft. (0.5 m) wide, peltate and velvety on the upper surface. Flowering seldom occurs outside of the native range.

 

Ecological Threat:  can tolerate a wide range of wet to dry sites. It easily invades wetland edges, swamps, and riverine forests. Can form dense stands outcompeting native plants. It is native to Southeast Asia and Southern India, but has widely naturalized in many places. It was first brought to the Americas in the 1600s as a food crop for slaves.

 

Biology & Spread:  Plants spread vegetatively through rhizomes, stolons, offshoot corms or vegetative fragments. Fruit are small berries, but are rarely produced.

 

In Oklahoma:  Not recorded in Oklahoma, yet.  Has naturalized in northern Texas, Louisiana, and southern Arkansas.

Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org