Colocasia esculenta 'Black Coral'
Common Name: taro 
Type: Bulb
Family: Araceae
Zone: 7 to 12
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Water Plant, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Wet Soil

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 Coral’ is a dark purple, glossy leaved cultivar developed at the University of Hawaii, Kula. It can reach 4' tall and 3' wide, but may not get as large in a single growing season when used as an annual. The dark purple leaves retain their color in full sun, while other purple-leaved cultivars can fade. Plant patent number PP23896 applies to this cultivar.