Plant Name Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott
Marathi: Ran aalu, Alu, Arabi, Tera, Teri
English: Taro, Green taro
Jawhar: Ran aalu, Alu, Tera
Interesting facts and history
- Earlier, Taro is produced as a cash crop and proved to be a valuable foreign exchange to the countries like Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, Tuvalu and Thailand.
Green Taro is a tuberous plant growing 3-5 ft tall.
0.8 -1.2 m high. Spathe up to 25 cm long. Spadix about 3/5 as long as the spathe, flowering parts up to 8 mm in diameter.
The large leaves of the plant resemble elephant ears. It produces heart shaped leaves 2-3 ft long and 1-2 ft across on 3 ft long stalks that all emerge from an upright tuberous rootstock, technically a corm
It is shaped like a top with rough ridges, lumps and spindly roots, and usually weighs around 0.5-1 kg, but occasionally as much as 3.5 kg. The skin is brown and the flesh is white or pink.
Neuters above the females, rhomboid or irregular oblong. Synandrium lobed, cells 6 or 8.
Habit / Habitat
It is herb and usually a wetland herbaceous perennial plant and usually grows in wet fields and near the banks of ponds and streams.
1) Availability of the plant species in India: Tropical areas all over India
2) Global distribution: It is thought to be native to Southern India and Southeast Asia
World wide use: Leaves and tubers
Used by tribal community in Jawhar: Leaves and tubers
Method of consumption
- Leaves are steamed and layered with gram flour to make local dish called ""wadi"".
- Green curry or ""saag"" is also prepared. Initially leaves are dried and further boiled and cooked as vegetable. As it is sour to taste only small portion is added while cooking vegetables or curry or fish.
Stir-Fry Arbi: India
- 6 medium size Taro roots (arbi) or about 3 cups sliced taro roots
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 4 whole dry red pepper
- 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain seeds)
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor) adjust to taste
- Wash the taro roots and pat dry. Peel them and slice them about 1/8” thick.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
- Add carom seeds (ajwain) and whole red pepper, stir-fry for few seconds until red pepper has become little dark in color.
- Add sliced taro roots stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes and cover.
- Let it cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until they are tender (stir once or twice in between) and cover it back until they are tender.
- Next add salt stir and cover for about 2 minutes.
- Now add coriander powder, red chili powder, and turmeric stir fry until taro roots are light golden brown this will take about 4 minutes. Add mango powder and stir.
- Taro roots will be lightly crunch. Enjoy it!
Guyana: In Guyuna, nutritive soup is made and ingested to increase milk supply of nursing women
Jawhar: A small portion of the dried fruit is boiled and the water is consumed to cure cough or stomach infection.
Nutritional and medicinal information
- The leaves are high in minerals and vitamins A, B, and C . Also, Taro is a good source of minerals including:
- Iron (8.66-10.8 mg/100g), b. Calcium (31-132mg/100g), c. Magnesium (118-415.07mg/100g), d. Zinc (2.63mg/100g), e. An excellent source of potassium (2271-4276.06mg/100g).
- High potassium to sodium ratio food recommended for patient with high blood pressure.
- Taro leaf is rich in protein. It contains about 23% protein on a dry weight basis (FAO, 1999) .
- Taro composes high protein than other root crops because of the presence of symbiotic soil bacteria in the root and rhizome part of taro. These bacteria fix atmospheric bacteria and increase nitrogen occurrence in the corm and leaf (Lucy, M et al., 2004)
- Cooked leaf of Taro contains beta carotene, iron and folic acid which protects against anaemia (FAO, 1990).
- As per a phytochemical screening carried out by Nakade et.al., the leaf extracts indicates the presence of phenols, tannin, saponins, steroids, quinine, trepenoids, glycosides, alkaloids except flavonoids. Antibacterial activity also was effective against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhi, Klebsiella pneumonia, Bacillus subtilis, Proteus vulgaris and E.coli, which indicates that the leaves can be used in the treatment of Typhoid, Pneumonia, Otitis, Urinary tract infection and Diarrhea.
Taro leaves are indeed considered ""Toxic"" when uncooked. This is due to “Calcium oxalate” crystal compounds that occur naturally in the leaves and stems of Taro. Calcium oxalate is highly insoluble and contributes to kidney stones. It has been recommended to consume calcium-rich foods together with taro .
Harvesting and preserving
Tubers can be harvested by uprooting them from the fields. Leaves could be directly colected from the wild.
Tubers can be stored for 6-8 months.
Propagation and Storage
Season of collection
Flowering from February to April.
Fruiting: May to October
How to grow it?
- These plants are easily cultivated by tubers, thick potato-like roots.
- Place the tuber in fertile soil and keep on adding water. You can even cut the tuber into sections to multiply your crop.
- Within the first week of planting the tubers, a small green stem would appear from the soil, this will be the first leaf.
- Over time the plant will develop into a thick bush and grow to a height of a foot to more than 6 feet (depending on the species). As the plant develops it will send off more shoots, leaves, and tubers allowing you to gradually harvest without harming the plant.
- Taro can grow in areas ranging from sea level to 1,800 m in elevation under daily average temperature of 21-27°C and rainfall of 250 cm annually.
- Taro is usually planted at wide spacing of 1m x 1m at a density of 10,000 plants/ha in dry areas and at spacing as close as 45cm x 45cm or approximately 49,000 plants/ha in wetland areas.
Method of storage
1) Propagules: Tubers, side suckers produced as a result of lateral proliferation of the main plant in the previous crop;
2) Edible parts:
- Small corms (unmarketable) resulting from the main plant in the previous crop;
- Corm pieces resulting when large corms are cut into smaller pieces.
- Taro corms have been used in the production of taro chips, dehydrated stable commodities, starch, flour, and in non-food application of taro starch in the manufacture of biodegradable plastics.
Family : Araceae
Genus : Colocasia
Species : esculenta
6 http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_coes.pdf 7https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236179342_Nutritional_Value_and_Oil_yielding_Capacity_of_Holoptelea_integrifolia_%28Roxb.%29_Planch._Seeds._National_Academy_of_Science_Letter_.33361-363