Colocasia esculenta 'Black Ripple'
Common Name: taro 
Type: Bulb
Family: Araceae
Zone: 8 to 11
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Water Plant, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Best grown in fertile, humusy, organically rich, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Afternoon shade is appreciated in climates with hot summers. When growing plants in garden soils, provide regular moisture, especially during dry summer periods, and do not allow soils to dry out. Plants may also be grown as pond marginals in up to 6" of standing water. Plants produce prodigious amounts of growth and appreciate regular fertilization during the growing season. Site plants in locations protected form strong winds. Tubers may be left in the ground year-round in USDA Zones 8-10. In St. Louis, however, tubers should be planted in the ground in mid-spring (after April 20), dug up in fall after first frost and then overwintered in a cool dry location (set in dry peat or wood shavings) where temperatures do not dip below 45°F, in somewhat the same manner as done for cannas.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Colocasia esculenta, commonly called taro or elephant ear, is a tuberous, stemless, frost-tender perennial of the arum family (see also calla lily and jack-in-the-pulpit) which typically grows 3-6' tall and as wide. For gardeners, it is primarily grown as a foliage plant with huge, heart-shaped to arrowhead-shaped, conspicuously-veined, downward-pointing, peltate leaves (to 2' long) on long, stout, succulent stems. As the common name suggests, each leaf purportedly resembles an elephant's ear. The typical aroid-type with yellowish-white spathes and spadixes are infrequently produced and usually hidden by the foliage when they do occur. This species is also commercially grown as a food crop in Hawaii (poi is made from the tubers) where it is commonly called taro.

Genus name comes from the Greek word kolokasia used for the root of Nelumbo nucifera.

Specific epithet means edible or good to eat.

'Black Ripple' was selected in 2011 by Brian Paul Williams of Brian's Botanicals in Louisville, Kentucky from among the seedlings derived from a cross of two unnamed hybrid Colocasia plants. `Black Ripple` has iridescent, puckered leaves that are very dark black-purple with a maroon underside and deep purple to black petioles. It is a dwarf, clump-forming, compact plant that grows 3 to 4 ft. tall and wide. The calla lily-like flowers are produced intermittently, last two to three weeks, and have a slight banana smell. Formerly known as 'Puckered Up', it is in the Southern Living Plant Collection. United States Plant Patent PP#26,151 issued July 10, 2013.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Lends a large tropical look to mixed borders, rain gardens, water margins and large containers. Can be used as a water plant. Excellent as a specimen or in groups.