Colocasia is a genus of flowering plants that are native to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Some of its species are widely cultivated and naturalized in other tropical and subtropical regions. Other large-leaved genera in the Araceae family, such as Xanthosoma and Caladium, are also known by the names elephant-ear and cocoyam. The name “Colocasia” comes from the ancient Greek word “kolokasion,” which was used to refer to the edible roots of both Colocasia esculenta and Nelumbo nucifera.
However, it is important to note that the species Colocasia esculenta has become invasive in wetlands along the American Gulf Coast, posing a threat to native wetland plants. This highlights the importance of responsible cultivation and management of plants, especially when introducing them to new environments.
Taro, also known as Colocasia, Dasheen, or Kalo, is a versatile and delicious food that is used in cuisines all over the world. Botanically speaking, taro is not actually a root, but rather a corm, which is an underground stem that resembles a bulb. Taro comes in various sizes and shapes, with the larger cultivated varieties resembling top-shaped potatoes with rough ridges and spindly projecting roots. The skin is typically brown, while the flesh inside can be white, pink, or purple. Despite its similarities to a potato, taro has a hairy outer coating that must be removed before consumption.
This process is simple enough, but some people may experience skin irritation when handling the taro root. To avoid this, it is recommended to wear protective gloves when peeling the taro’s skin. It is also important to note that taro can be toxic when raw, so it should always be cooked before use. With its unique texture and flavor, taro is a wonderful addition to any meal, and with a little care in preparation, it can be enjoyed safely and deliciously.