Imperial Taro (Colocasia esculenta 'Black Beauty') in the Elephant Ears (Colocasia) Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Imperial Taro
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Botanical names:
Colocasia esculenta Accepted
Colocasia antiquorum var. illustris Synonym
Colocasia esculenta var. illustris Synonym

Elephant Ears
Country of Origin: USA
Hybridizer or Originator: Brian Paul Williams

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): Dull (Matte)
Leaf color (top of leaf): Blackish
Leaf main veins color (top of leaf): Blackish
Petiole junction color (top of leaf): Green
Petiole color: Green

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 7b -15 °C (5 °F) to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
Plant Height: 3 to 5 feet (.9-1.5 m)
Plant Spread: 3 to 4 feet (.9-1.2 m)
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Flower Time: Other: Seasonal
Underground structures: Tuber
Uses: Will Naturalize
Eating Methods: Cooked
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
Parentage: Sport of: Illustris

Stunning and unique foliage.

Photo gallery:
Location: z6a MA, my gardenDate: 2014-09-08
By eclayne
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Location: Mercer Botanical Garden  Houston, TxDate: 2014-05-19
By jmorth
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Location: Sun Zone 6aDate: 2012-07-13
By ge1836
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Location: Sun Zone 6aDate: 2012-08-08So dramatic.The leaves are darker the more sun it gets
By ge1836
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Location: Swayback's Kentucky JungleUnusual leaf, they randomly do this...
By Swayback
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By Seray
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Location: all photos from my gardensDate: 2019-07-26
By pinkiris
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Location: Sun Zone 6aDate: 2012-07-21
By ge1836
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Location: Mercer Botanical Garden  Houston, TxDate: 2014-05-19
By jmorth
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This plant is tagged in:
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Posted by eclayne (Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA - Zone 6a) on Apr 19, 2013 7:45 AM

This is a darker form of Imperial Taro (Colocasia esculenta 'Illustris') selected because it is said to retain the consistent dark leaf lamina color. With a matte leaf surface, coloration varies from black with grey veins and a green center spot (piko) to black with green veins.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Colocasia Black Beauty Leaf Issue Unknown by TropicJungle Jun 13, 2019 12:00 PM 12
Black leaved Colocasia by eclayne Sep 17, 2015 4:24 AM 4
Swaybacks elephant ear sale by Swayback Sep 12, 2015 7:03 PM 31
Let's talk about elephant ears! by Swayback Oct 3, 2020 3:19 PM 1,010
Interest thread spring flowers ..Glads,CANNA ,CLEMATIS, Lilys (new) EE chefmike by chefmike92 Feb 10, 2013 2:27 PM 69
interested in ELEPHANT EARS or Carnivorous plants? by chefmike92 Dec 13, 2012 8:01 PM 31
Elephant Ears-Colocasia, Alocasia, Xanthosoma and Caladium by Taylor696 Feb 21, 2016 7:49 AM 595

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