Black Taro (Colocasia fontanesii) in the Elephant Ears (Colocasia) Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Black Taro
Give a thumbs up Black Stem Elephant Ear
Give a thumbs up Violet-Stemmed Taro
Give a thumbs up Elephant's Ear

Botanical names:
Colocasia fontanesii Accepted
Colocasia esculenta var. fontanesii Synonym
Colocasia esculenta var. antiquorum Synonym
Colocasia antiquorum var. fontanesii Synonym

Also sold as:
Colocasia antiquorum 'Fontanesii'
'Black Stem'
Alocasia Nigrescens

Data specific to Elephant Ears (Colocasia) (Edit)
Plant habit: Running
Plant height: Tall (>40 inches)
Leaf base: Peltate
Leaf form: Flat
Leaf surface (top of leaf): Glossy
Leaf color (top of leaf): Deep green
Leaf main veins color (top of leaf): Purple
Petiole junction color (top of leaf): Purple
Petiole color: Purple

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Plant Height: 4 to 8 feet (1.2-2.4m)
Plant Spread: 4 to 5 feet (1.2-1.5m)
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Flowers: Showy
Flower Time: Other: Seasonal
Underground structures: Tuber
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Uses: Water gardens
Will Naturalize
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Toxicity: Other: All parts of plant contain calcium oxalate crystals, an irritant to the mouth and esophagus. Toxic to cats and dogs.
Propagation: Seeds: Other info: Remove seed from berry which contains chemicals that inhibit germination.
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Stolons and runners
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Miscellaneous: Goes Dormant


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(Full article14 comments)
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Photo gallery:
Location: z6a MA, my gardenDate: 2014-08-01
By eclayne
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Location: My garden near Lincoln UKDate: 2008-08-26I was surprised to see it produce a spathe!
By JRsbugs
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Location: z6a MA, my garden
By eclayne
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Location: z6a MA, my garden
By eclayne
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Location: My garden near Lincoln UKDate: 2008-08-26A cold hardy Colocasia suitable for growing in the UK, given wint
By JRsbugs
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Location: z6a MA, my gardenDate: 2013-08-13Too pooped to run.
By eclayne
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Photo courtesy of Longfield Gardens
By Joy
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This plant is tagged in:
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Posted by JRsbugs (Near Lincoln UK) on Dec 17, 2011 8:59 AM

I have tried more than one Colocasia including 'Illustris' and 'Black Magic', this is the only one remaining alive. Illustris grew well from a tiny tissue culture seedling to make a large tuber but with two cold summers and going dormant over winter it gave up the ghost when there was not enough warmth for it to regrow in spring, these conditions do not affect 'Fontanesii' the same. In the UK it is advisable to keep them in a pot and bring inside over winter, this one will keep growing a little even over winter inside at temperatures around 16C give or take a little so the problem of bringing it into growth again does not exist. I think it prefers to be outside in summer, this year I kept it in a greenhouse but it didn't thrive, so natural rain water might encourage good growth as it brings down nitrogen although 2011 in the UK was exceptionally rain free. I grow it in a mix of gritty 'river soil' and lots of leafy compost which most bulbs thrive in. Runners are sent out from the main tuber and if they have room will make new tubers, I now have three in a larger pot than it was in originally, the first time it made a runner the pot wasn't wide enough for it to take root so I lost the advantage of having the plant make a new tuber.

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Posted by eclayne (Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA - Zone 6a) on Aug 22, 2014 9:12 AM

Will grow happily in full sun to full shade here but performs better in full sun with constantly wet soil. C. fontanesii is a "Runner," sending out many stolons, so it's easy to increase your stock. Eventually you'll see a Flag Leaf appear and shortly thereafter your first inflorescence. This year I've had 4 in one floral sympodium, to date! These regularly reach 5 to 6 feet in height.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Let's talk about elephant ears! by Swayback Jan 17, 2019 4:03 PM 1,006
Untitled by Xeramtheum Feb 26, 2013 9:57 AM 1

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