Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott

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Colocasia esculenta

Photo: Bart Wursten
Mutucuto River crossing, footpath from Muwawa to Zomba

Colocasia esculenta

Photo: Bart Wursten
Muvumodzi Valley near Eastern Lakes, eastern Chimanimnai Mts.

Colocasia esculenta

Photo: Bart Wursten
Muvumodzi Valley near Eastern Lakes, eastern Chimanimnai Mts.

Colocasia esculenta

Photo: Bart Wursten
River below Nharizengere Falls, northwestern Gorongosa National Park.

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Synonyms: Colocasia antiquorum Schott
Common names: Coco yam (English) Taro (English)
Frequency: Locally common
Status: Introduced
Perennial herb, growing from a thick tuber. Leaves several on erect petiole sheathing for up to 2/3 of the length, blade broadly ovate-sagittate with rounded basal lobes. Spathe 30-30 cm long; basal tube short, green; limb much longer, yellow to orange. Spadix shorter than the spathe with sterile appendix up to 4 cm long. Flowers unisexual. In some cultivars plants rarely flower.
Notes: It is locally cultivated for its edible tubers and is found as an occasional escape, particularly along rivers in hot areas.
Derivation of specific name: esculenta: edible
Habitat: Mainly by rivers at low altitudes, sometimes forming colonies.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Native to tropical Asia.
Mozambique distribution: MS (other?)
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Wednesday 27 September 2017

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 14.

Haigh, A. & Boyce, P. (2012). Araceae Flora Zambesiaca 12(1) Page 2.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 85.

Mayo, S.J. (1985). Araceae Flora of Tropical East Africa Page 5.

Tredgold, M.H. et al. (1986). Food Plants of Zimbabwe Mambo Press Page 42. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Colocasia esculenta:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Colocasia esculenta
Flora of Malawi: cultivated Colocasia esculenta
Flora of Mozambique: cultivated Colocasia esculenta
Flora of Zambia: Colocasia esculenta
Flora of Zambia: cultivated Colocasia esculenta
Flora of Zimbabwe: Colocasia esculenta
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Colocasia esculenta

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Colocasia esculenta
African Plant Database: Colocasia esculenta
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Colocasia esculenta
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Colocasia esculenta
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Colocasia esculenta
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Colocasia esculenta
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Colocasia esculenta
JSTOR Plant Science: Colocasia esculenta
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Colocasia esculenta
Plants of the World Online: Colocasia esculenta
Tropicos: Colocasia esculenta
Wikipedia: Colocasia esculenta

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Mozambique: Species information: Colocasia esculenta., retrieved 29 November 2023

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