Colocasia gigantea (Taro, Dasheen)

A true colossus, Colocasia gigantea is an elephant ear that reaches extraordinary sizes. The leaves of the ‘Thailand Giant’ strain may grow to be 5 feet long by 4 wide. Inflorescences appear on larger plants in autumn in groups. These can grow in shallow water and are extremely intolerant of drought.

Colocasia gigantea (Taro, Dasheen)
Deciduous: no in tropical areas, dies back and returns in spring where winters do not drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit
Hardiness Zones: 8-11
Height: To 3 meters (9 feet) tall in temperate regions, supposedly ‘Thailand Giant’ can reach 6 meters (20 feet) tall in its native habitat with leaves to 1.5 meters long by 1.2 meters wide (5 feet long by 4 feet wide).
Diameter: to roughly 5 meters (16 feet) across overall
Growth Rate: fast
Age: perennial
Root System: fibrous
Family: Araceae
Subspecies: ‘Thailand Giant’ (ENORMOUS)

Tolerates: herbivores (rabbits, deer)
Problems (major): none
Problems (minor): Dry soils significantly harm health, may kill plants (especially younger or weakened plants).
Poisonous: The entire plant contains Calcium Oxalate crystals, which can cause pain to the throat and mouth if ingested. May be edible once very thoroughly
cooked.

Soil requirements: requires consistently moist soils with good drainage, pH 5.6-7.5, greatly appreciates fertilizer
Air requirements: grows best in high humidity
Watering requirement: moderate to high, survives in shallow standing water
Sun requirement: full sun to part-shade

Leaf shape: heart-shaped, petiole attached at the intersection of the “Y”-shaped veins, basal
Leaf size: enormous, petioles to 2.5 meters (8 feet) long
Stem: none, petioles only
Flowering structure: inflorescence with a green peduncle, green spathe to 60 centimeters (24 inches) long, white spadix, frequently occur in small groups of 5 to 13
side by side, rise from leaf axil
Flowering frequency: somewhat common once large enough, July to October, naturally pollinated by beetles or people
Fruits: Inflorescences give way to somewhat cone-shaped, yellowish seed pods with oblong berries. The seeds are tiny, black, similar to tomato seeds.
Bulb/Corm: bulb

Notable characteristics:
These, like other Colocasia, may reproduce by dividing bulbs.

Uses:
These are sometimes planted in gardens as colossal ornamentals. In tropical areas (especially ‘Thailand Giant’), these grow to spectacular sizes at fast rates.

Sources used:

Colocasia_gigantea_
C. gigantea in Carbondale, Illinois

20151003_172535

20151003_172540
Inflorescences

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