Indian Taro
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Indian Taro
P Native Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Indian Taro • Assamese: মান কচু Maan Kachu, মান কোসু Maan Kosu • Hindi: मनकंदा Mankanda • Kannada: Genasoo • Manipuri: ꯌꯦꯟꯗꯦꯝ Yendem
Botanical name: Alocasia indica    Family: Araceae (Arum family)
Synonyms: Arum indicum, Colocasia indica

Indian Taro is a perennial herb that has long been botanically confused with Giant Taro. However, for people of Manipur the two are distinctly different - Indian Taro is an edible plant, whereas Giant Taro is generally not consumed. Leaves are broad, light green in color, slightly heart-shaped, margin entire and wavy, two ovoid lobes at the base are rounded, tip is a also very much rounded. On the other hand, the large leaves of Giant Taro are prominently arrow-shaped. Midrib, primary and secondary veins are slightly whitish (not distinct), leaf-stalk long, fleshy, porous, overlap with one another, produce watery sap, sheathing at the lower part. Inflorescence is a spadix, spadix surrounded by a spathe and shorter than spathe, pale yellow. Fruit is a fleshy berry, spherical when mature. The leaf-stalk along with the leaf is commonly cooked and consumed whereas the corm is commonly consumed fresh, in spicy salad known as Singju. Indian Taro is widely cultivated in Manipur. It is native to the Indian Subcontinent to Indo-China.
Medicinal uses: It is believed that this species is rich in iron content and so the cooked leaf-stalk is given during post-delivery of child birth which helps in the faster recovery. The leaf blade is slightly roasted on fire directly and applied externally to reduce boils and swellings.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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