coco yam, wild taro
Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott


Colocasia esculenta is a 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. Flowers, when present, are small and densely crowded at the apex of a fleshy stalk.
Plants spread vegetatively through rhizomes, stolons, offshoot corms or vegetative fragments. Fruit are small berries, but are rarely produced.
Ecological Threat
Colocasia esculenta can tolerate a wide range of wet to dry sites. It easily invades wetland edges, swamps, blackwater streams and riverine forests. Colocasia esculenta can form dense stands outcompeting native plants. It is native to Africa and was first brought to the Americas as a food crop for slaves. In 1910, Colocasia esculenta was also promoted as an alternative crop to potatoes by the USDA. There are similar native species and some similar exotic species but in all of these similar species their petioles attach to the margin of the leaf blades rather than in the middle as with Colocasia esculenta.


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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Subclass: Arecidae
Order: Arales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Colocasia
Subject: Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
elephant's ears, dasheen

Related Scientific Names:
Arum esculentum (L.) Schott (Synonym)


Plants - Forbs/Herbs