Botanical name: Alocasia macrorhiza Family: Araceae (arum family)
Synonyms: Alocasia indica
Giant taro is a massive perennial with huge elephant ear leaves 3-6 ft in length and 2-4 ft wide borne on leaf stalks 2-4 ft long. The petioles emerge from a stout upright trunk that can stand 6 ft tall. Their beautiful araceous flowers grow at the end of short stalk, but are not conspicuous, often hidden behind the leaf petioles. The stem (a corm) is edible, but contains raphid crystals of oxalic acid that can numb and swell the tongue and pharynx. The corms require prolonged boiling before serving or processing as a food. Giant taro is similar to other large-leafed arums such as the true elephant ears (Xanthosoma sagittifolium), the arrow arums (Peltrandra spp.), and Green Taro (Colocasia esculenta) Giant taro occurs naturally in tropical forests in Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia where it grows in the forest understory in openings and along streams.
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