Colocasia Schott
  • H.W.Schott & S.L.Endlicher, Melet. Bot.: 18 (1832) 

Notes: , nom. cons. Distribution: Trop. & Subtrop. Asia

General Description

HABIT : small, medium-sized or gigantic, seasonally dormant or evergreen herbs, stem either a hypogeal, subglobose or subcylindric tuber or mostly epigeal, massive. LEAVES : several, rosulate in acaulescent plants, forming terminal crown in arborescent species. PETIOLE : sheath rather long. BLADE : peltate, ovate-cordate to sagittate-cordate, posterior lobes rounded, shortly to almost entirely connate; basal ribs well-developed, primary lateral veins pinnate, forming submarginal collective vein, 1-2 marginal veins also present, secondary and tertiary laterals arising from the primaries at a wide angle, then arching strongly towards leaf margin, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : 1-many in each floral sympodium, appearing with the leaves. PEDUNCLE : much shorter than petiole. SPATHE : constricted between tube and blade, sometimes with a second constriction above male zone of spadix, tube with convolute margins, usually much shorter than blade, ovoid or oblong, persistent, enlarging in fruit and then splitting open irregularly, blade white to yellow, oblong and boat-shaped to narrowly lanceolate, reflexing at anthesis, later deciduous. SPADIX : shorter than spathe, female zone short, separated from male by narrower zone of sterile male flowers, male zone cylindric to fusiform, terminal appendix erect, ± smooth, elongate-conoid to fusiform or subulate, sometimes reduced to small, mucronate stub, rarely absent. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigone absent. MALE FLOWER : 3-6-androus, stamens connate into ± truncate synandrium, thecae lateral, oblong-linear, dehiscing by apical pore. POLLEN : extruded in strands, inaperturate, ellipsoid-oblong or spherical to subspheroidal (C. esculenta), small to medium-sized (mean 25 µm., range 25-26 µm), exine finely striate, coarsely swirling-fossulate or fossulate-spinose. STERILE MALE FLOWERS : synandrodes depressed-obpyramidal, truncate, laterally compressed. FEMALE FLOWER : ovary ovoid or oblong, 1-locular, ovules many, hemiorthotropous, funicles relatively long, placentae 2-5, parietal, style short, narrowed or not, sometimes ± absent, stigma discoid-capitate or weakly lobed. BERRY : greenish to whitish or red (?), obconoid or oblong, stigma remnants persistent, many-seeded. SEED : ovoid to ellipsoid, testa thickish, costate, embryo axile, cylindric, endosperm copious.

Diagnostic Description

Small to gigantic, terrestrial or helophytic geophytes, stem tuberous or aerial; leaves peltate with colocasioid fine venation; spadix with terminal sterile appendix, rarely reduced or absent, male and female zones separated by narrower zone of sterile flowers; flowers unisexual, perigone absent; male flower a more-or-less truncate synandrium. Differs from Alocasia in parietal placentation, numerous ovules and always entire leaf blades.


Tropical humid forest habitats; geophytes, terrestrial or helophytes, wet places, along streams and ponds, forest floor in leaf litter, between rocks, sometimes on limestone (C. gigantea).


Trop. & Subtrop. Asia.


taro, eddoe; C. esculenta is an important food plant in tropical regions, especially the Pacific.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Asia-Temperate China China South-Central
  • China Southeast
  • Tibet
  • Eastern Asia Taiwan
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Assam
  • Bangladesh
  • East Himalaya
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Indo-China Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Nicobar Is.
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Malesia Borneo
  • Jawa
  • Lesser Sunda Is.
  • Malaya
  • Maluku
  • Sumatera
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Caribbean Bermuda
Introduced into
  • Africa Macaronesia Azores
  • Canary Is.
  • Madeira
  • Middle Atlantic Ocean St.Helena
  • Northeast Tropical Africa Chad
  • Socotra
  • Northern Africa Algeria
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • South Tropical Africa Malawi
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • West Tropical Africa Benin
  • Gambia, The
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Ivory Coast
  • Senegal
  • Togo
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Congo
  • Gulf of Guinea Is.
  • Zaire
  • Western Indian Ocean Chagos Archipelago
  • Madagascar
  • Seychelles
  • Asia-Temperate Eastern Asia Japan
  • Western Asia East Aegean Is.
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Laccadive Is.
  • Maldives
  • Sri Lanka
  • West Himalaya
  • Indo-China Andaman Is.
  • Malesia Christmas I.
  • Sulawesi
  • Papuasia Bismarck Archipelago
  • New Guinea
  • Solomon Is.
  • Australasia Australia New South Wales
  • Norfolk Is.
  • Queensland
  • Western Australia
  • New Zealand Kermadec Is.
  • Europe Southeastern Europe Italy
  • Sicilia
  • Yugoslavia
  • Southwestern Europe Portugal
  • Sardegna
  • Spain
  • Northern America South-Central U.S.A. Texas
  • Southeastern U.S.A. Alabama
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Pacific North-Central Pacific Hawaii
  • South-Central Pacific Cook Is.
  • Easter Is.
  • Line Is.
  • Marquesas
  • Society Is.
  • Southwestern Pacific Gilbert Is.
  • New Caledonia
  • Niue
  • Santa Cruz Is.
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Wallis-Futuna Is.
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil Northeast
  • Caribbean Cayman Is.
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Leeward Is.
  • Puerto Rico
  • Venezuelan Antilles
  • Windward Is.
  • Central America Costa Rica
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Northern South America Guyana
  • Venezuela
  • Southern South America Paraguay
  • Western South America Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Galápagos
  • Peru


  • 1 Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 2 Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. Continental Publishing, Deurne.
  • 3 Gardens, K.""Royal Bot World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. (2008).
  • 4 Mayo, S.J., Bogner, J. & Boyce, P.C. The Genera of Araceae. (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: 1997).

 Information From

CATE Araceae
Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 14 Dec 2011 . 17 Dec 2011.
  • A All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • B Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • C See You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.