Wild taro, dasheen

Colocasia esculenta -- Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Colocasia esculenta

Non-Native to Florida


Video ID segment (2-3 minutes)
You will need Adobe Flash installed to view this video
This video may take several minutes to download depending on your internet connection.

Online image request form

wild taro wild taro wild taro wild taro wild taro wild taro wild taro wild taro

FWC WEED ALERT (PDF)

CATEGORY I on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's (FLEPPC) 2013 List of Invasive Plant Species

Download a Recognition Card (PDF 851 KB)

Download a page (PDF 171 KB) from Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition, by K.A. Langeland, H.M. Cherry, et al. University of Florida-IFAS Pub SP 257. 2008.

For control information, see Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida (SP 242)
by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker

Date of introduction to Florida: 1910 (agriculture)

(from Strangers in Paradise, Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida, Chapter 2: Florida’s Invasion by Nonindigenous Plants: History, Screening, and Regulation, by D.R. Gordon and K.P. Thomas, pp. 21-37. Island Press, Washington, DC, 1997.)




    Introduction

    Central and South Americans use the tubers of elephant ear tubers in various meals. The tuber is one of the most popular foods in the country and provides a basic diet for many. The tubers can be harvested and stored for several weeks if refrigerated. Elephant ear is cultivated in many of the Central and South American countries. Taro is native to Africa and was brought as a food crop for slaves. It is also widely eaten in many areas of the Pacific.

    back to top

     

    Description

    Both elephant ear and taro are herbaceous perennials with large leaves up to 6 feet in length. The common name was given because of its large, elephant ear-like leaves. Taro can be distinguished from elephant ears by the attachment of the leaf from the petiole. In taro, the petiole attaches to the leaf several inches from the base of the ‘V’ of the leaf, while the petiole is attached directly at the base in elephant ears. The leaves are light green for elephant ear and darker green in color for taro. Both have arrow-shaped leaves with long petioles and wavy margins. Elephant ear plants can grow up to 9 feet in height, while taro is much shorter – rarely reaching 4 feet tall. Leaves are produced from corms which are underground bulblike structures. Rhizomes give rise to offshoots that extend from the corm.

    back to top

     

    Impacts

    Both species are found in swamps and along stream banks. The large leaves may shade and prevent regeneration of desired species. Taro is more wide spread and can frequently be observed along the shorelines of many central Florida lakes.

    back to top

     

    Management

     

    Preventative:

    The first step in preventative control of elephant ear and taro is to limit planting and removal of existing plants within the landscape.   

    back to top

     

    Cultural:

    Plant native or non-invasive alternatives.

    back to top

     

    Mechanical:

    Dig out corms from the soil. Take care when cutting, as the leaves contain oxalic acid, which may cause irritation to exposed skin.

    back to top

     

    Biological:

    Elephant ear has no known biological control agents.

    back to top

     

    Chemical:  

    Chemicals with known control are limited. Repeated applications of glyphosate (2% solution) with a surfactant may be effective, especially if coupled with other management strategies.

    back to top

     

    Excerpted from the University of Florida, IFAS Extension, Circular 1529, Invasive Species Management Plans for Florida, 2008 by:

    Greg MacDonald, Associate Professor Jay Ferrell, Assistant Professor and Extension Weed Specialist
    Brent Sellers, Assistant Professor and Extension Weed Specialist
    Ken Langeland, Professor and Extension Weed Specialist Agronomy Department, Gainesville and Range Cattle REC, Ona
    Tina Duperron-Bond, DPM – Osceola County
    Eileen Ketterer-Guest, former Graduate Research Assistant

     

    References and Useful Links:

    Demers, C., Long, A. and Williams, R. 2009. Controlling Invasive Exotic Plants in North Florida Forests. IFAS Publication SS-FOR19.
    University of Florida, Gainesville. 8 pp.

    Langeland, K.A. and K. Craddock Burks. 1998. Identification and Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas. IFAS Publication SP 257. University of Florida, Gainesville. 165 pp.

    The Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group. Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas

    Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Plant Threats to Pacific Ecosystems

    Invasive Plants of the Eastern United States

    USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

    back to top

     

    More Resources:

    See more information and pictures about wild taro, as contained in the Langeland/Burks book, Identification & Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas.

    View the UF/IFAS Assessment, which lists plants according to their invasive status in Florida.

    wild taro View the herbarium specimen image of the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.

    back to top