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Elephant's-ear Colocasia

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Elephant's-ear:

Previously known as:

  • Zantedeschia
Phonetic Spelling
kol-oh-KAY-see-ah
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

This amazing plant with its massive leaves looking like elephant ears is one that makes a triumphant statement and with its heart-shaped leaves will captivate your heart into seeing the beauty in this plant. 

Colocasia is a genus of herbaceous perennials famed for their large foliage which come in a variety of shades and in some different patterns. Their leaves are heart-shaped, thin, and rubbery. Originating from Southeastern Asia, these plants enjoy loamy, fertile soil and tropical climates. They can be grown in full sun to part shade and make a very interesting accent to any garden and an amazing statement in any garden. Different species or varieties can have different characteristics such as stalk color, foliage color, and size. The largest Colocasia is C. gigantea 'Thailand Giant' which can have stalks that are 6 inches wide at the base and support leaves that can grow from 2-4 feet long.

These plants are tuberous and are known to be used in some traditional Asian cuisine. All parts of the plant are poisonous while raw, but once cooked the tubers are edible.

Colocasia is a tender perennial that cannot survive winter months in many places. In USDA Zones outside of 7b-10 you should either use this plant as an annual or dig up the tuber after the first frost and overwinter it in a cool dry area (possibly in dry wood shavings or peat) where the temperature does not fall below 45°F. The tuber should then be planted again in late April. A possibly easier method is to treat Colocasia as a container plant and move the container inside during the winter given that you have space for such a large container.

These plants can be propagated by their corms by dividing them and placing them in a large 1-gallon pot with rich peat growing media and applying consistent moisture.

This plant (which is a perennial herb) can be used as a houseplant/ interiorscape or used in the landscape as a cultivated, tender or hardy bulb. Its hardiness is tender, injured below 68 degrees F (20 degrees C). They will need 6 feet of space.

Although this plant is a large plant much like the elephant it's beauty is magnificent and one to be admired.

 

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Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Black Magic'
  • 'Illustris'
  • 'Jet Black Knight'
Tags:
#bulb#yellow#poisonous#full sun#water garden#rain garden#houseplant#summer#specimen#corms#tender annual#showy leaves#interiorscape#large leaves#tuberous#accent plant#wet sites#spathe#big leaves#black leaves#wet soil#tender bulb#yellow spathe#elephant ear
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Black Magic'
  • 'Illustris'
  • 'Jet Black Knight'
Tags:
#bulb#yellow#poisonous#full sun#water garden#rain garden#houseplant#summer#specimen#corms#tender annual#showy leaves#interiorscape#large leaves#tuberous#accent plant#wet sites#spathe#big leaves#black leaves#wet soil#tender bulb#yellow spathe#elephant ear
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Colocasia
    Family:
    Araceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical & Subtropical Asia
    Bulb Storage:
    (tuber storage: corm) Harvest tubers in fall, dry, and store at 70-75 degrees. F (21-23 degrees C); does not tolerate temperature below 70 dg. F (21 dg. C)
    Edibility:
    The whole plant (all parts of the plant) are poisonous if uncooked/ raw, but once cooked the tubers are edible: tuber used in Asian cuisine when cooked. Use salted water and boil for at least one hour. They are rich in vitamins A and C and they have more protein, phosphorus and calcium than a regular potato. Their starch is easily digested so it is often used in infant formulas as a first baby food.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Bulb
    Edible
    Houseplant
    Poisonous
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a, 11a, 11b, 12b, 12a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Description:
    This plant has flowers in a spadix with a greenish or yellow spathe.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Black
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves can vary in colors from green with light veins, to a more neon veins, to even dark black with pale white veins. Leaves are very large (generally up to 3 feet), arrow-shaped, and are long-stalked.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Pond
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Children
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    This plant CAUSES SEVERE PAIN IN THE MOUTH IF EATEN! Poisonous through ingestion. All parts are poisonous if ingested unless cooked first. Symptoms may include burning and swelling of lips, mouth, tongue, and throat, and difficulty of speech.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Calcium oxalate crystals
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems