Indo-Malay Taro
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Indo-Malay Taro
P Native Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Indo-Malay Taro • Japanese: Hasu-imo • Manipuri: ꯌꯦꯟꯗꯦꯝ Yendem
Botanical name: Leucocasia gigantea    Family: Araceae (Arum family)
Synonyms: Colocasia gigantea, Colocasia prunipes, Caladium giganteum

Indo-Malay Taro is a large evergreen herb, with stout epigeal stem. Leaves can grow very large, but are smaller in cultivation. Leaf-stalks are pale green, strikingly powdery, up to 2.5 m, proximal half sheathing; leaf blade white powdery below, especially when immature, green or pale green above, ovate-heart-shaped, 25-250 x 17-150 cm, membranous, base heart-shaped, peltate, margin wavy, tip shortly tapering. Inflorescences are 5-13 arising from leaf axil (actually at branch-ends on shoot and displaced by new shoot); flower-cluster-stalk powdery, cylindric, 30-80 x 1-2 cm, each with a membranous cataphyll nearly equaling length of flower-cluster-stalk. Spathe is 12-24 cm; tube green, ellipsoid, 3-6 x 1.5-2 cm; limb erect, white, oblong-boat-shaped, distinctly constricted, 8-19 × 2-3 cm. Spadix 9-20 cm; female zone white or cream-colored, conic; sterile zone 3-4.5 cm, slender; male zone 5-14 cm; appendix very short, 1-5 mm, tip pointed. Berry oblong, about 5 mm. Seeds are many, spindle-shaped, with many distinct longitudinal striations. Indo-Malay Taro is native to Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, China South-Central, China Southeast, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Myanmar, Sumatera, Thailand, Vietnam, at altitudes of 100-700 m. It is widely cultivated in SE Asia, including NE India, for its edible leaf-stalks. Leaf-stalks are cooked for consumption. Rhizome is boiled or steamed for consumption. Whole plant is used as common vegetable. Flowering: April-June.
Medicinal uses: Leaf lamina roasted for local application on boils.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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