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FLIP

FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Colocasia esculenta

Common Name(s): Wild taro; dasheen; coco yam

Origin

Southeastern Asia, India

Ecological Impact

 Labeled an "aggressive weed" that grows in dense clusters along lake shores and riverbanks, displacing native shoreline vegetation. Listed as a Category I invasive species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC). 

Description

An erect, perennial herb that grows up to 4 feet tall.  Leaf blades are peltate (attached to stalk near the center of leaf), and arrowhead in shape, and can grow up to 2 feet long.  The leaves are dark green with wavy (undulate) margins and repel water.  Inflorescence grows on a fleshy stalk; partially enveloped by a long yellow spathe.  Flowers occur in small fingerlike spikes.  The fruit is a small berry that grows in clusters on the stalk (Langeland and Burks, 1998).

Identification Tips

Wild taro grows along streams, canals, and other aquatic locations with high nutrient sources.  Look for large, arrowhead-shaped and peltate leaves which are stalked from the back of the blade.  Wild taro resembles other plants in Florida such as Arums (Peltandra spp.) and elephant ear (Anthosoma sagittifolium).

History

Wild taro was introduced to Florida in 1910 by th U.S. Department of Agriculture to replace potatoes (Langeland and Burks, 1998).

Florida Range

Found throughout the state of Florida.

Management Strategies

Do not plant.  Dig up tubers and discard with household waste.

Photos

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Florida Invasive Plants