Taro
Overview
 
Taro ˈ is a common name for the corm
Corm
A corm is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ used by some plants to survive winter or other adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat ....

s and tubers of several plants in the family Araceae
Araceae
Araceae are a family of monocotyledonous flowering plants in which flowers are borne on a type of inflorescence called a spadix. The spadix is usually accompanied by, and sometimes partially enclosed in, a spathe or leaf-like bract. Also known as the Arum family, members are often colloquially...

 (see Taro (disambiguation)
Taro (disambiguation)
Taro is any of several tropical plants used as root vegetables:* Most commonly, Colocasia esculenta* Alocasia species, especially Alocasia macrorrhizos * Cyrtosperma merkusii * Xanthosoma sagittifolium...

). Of these, Colocasia esculenta
Colocasia esculenta
Colocasia esculenta is a tropical plant grown primarily for its edible corms, the root vegetables whose many names include Taro and Eddoe. It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants.-Description:Rhizomes of different shapes and sizes...

is the most widely cultivated, and is the subject of this article. More specifically, this article describes the 'dasheen' form of taro; another variety is called eddoe
Eddoe
Eddoe is a tropical vegetable, a variety of Colocasia esculenta, closely related to taro , that is primarily used for its thickened stems . It has smaller corms than taro, and in all but the best cultivars there is an acrid taste that requires careful cooking...

.

Taro is native to southeast Asia. It is a perennial
Perennial plant
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter lived annuals and biennials. The term is sometimes misused by commercial gardeners or horticulturalists to describe only herbaceous perennials...

, tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable
Root vegetable
Root vegetables are plant roots used as vegetables. Here "root" means any underground part of a plant.Root vegetables are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. They differ in the concentration and the balance between sugars, starches, and other types of...

 for its edible starchy corm
Corm
A corm is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ used by some plants to survive winter or other adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat ....

, and as a leaf vegetable
Leaf vegetable
Leaf vegetables, also called potherbs, green vegetables, greens, leafy greens or salad greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots...

 and is considered a staple in African, Ocean
Ocean
An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.More than half of this area is over 3,000...

ic and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n cultures.
Encyclopedia
Taro ˈ is a common name for the corm
Corm
A corm is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ used by some plants to survive winter or other adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat ....

s and tubers of several plants in the family Araceae
Araceae
Araceae are a family of monocotyledonous flowering plants in which flowers are borne on a type of inflorescence called a spadix. The spadix is usually accompanied by, and sometimes partially enclosed in, a spathe or leaf-like bract. Also known as the Arum family, members are often colloquially...

 (see Taro (disambiguation)
Taro (disambiguation)
Taro is any of several tropical plants used as root vegetables:* Most commonly, Colocasia esculenta* Alocasia species, especially Alocasia macrorrhizos * Cyrtosperma merkusii * Xanthosoma sagittifolium...

). Of these, Colocasia esculenta
Colocasia esculenta
Colocasia esculenta is a tropical plant grown primarily for its edible corms, the root vegetables whose many names include Taro and Eddoe. It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants.-Description:Rhizomes of different shapes and sizes...

is the most widely cultivated, and is the subject of this article. More specifically, this article describes the 'dasheen' form of taro; another variety is called eddoe
Eddoe
Eddoe is a tropical vegetable, a variety of Colocasia esculenta, closely related to taro , that is primarily used for its thickened stems . It has smaller corms than taro, and in all but the best cultivars there is an acrid taste that requires careful cooking...

.

Taro is native to southeast Asia. It is a perennial
Perennial plant
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter lived annuals and biennials. The term is sometimes misused by commercial gardeners or horticulturalists to describe only herbaceous perennials...

, tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable
Root vegetable
Root vegetables are plant roots used as vegetables. Here "root" means any underground part of a plant.Root vegetables are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. They differ in the concentration and the balance between sugars, starches, and other types of...

 for its edible starchy corm
Corm
A corm is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ used by some plants to survive winter or other adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat ....

, and as a leaf vegetable
Leaf vegetable
Leaf vegetables, also called potherbs, green vegetables, greens, leafy greens or salad greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots...

 and is considered a staple in African, Ocean
Ocean
An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.More than half of this area is over 3,000...

ic and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n cultures. It is believed to have been one of the earliest cultivated plants. Colocasia is thought to have originated in the Indo-Malayan
Indomalaya
The Indomalaya ecozone is one of the eight ecozones that cover the planet's land surface. It extends across most of South and Southeast Asia and into the southern parts of East Asia....

 region, perhaps in eastern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, and spread eastward into Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, eastern Asia, and the Pacific islands
Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania, although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago....

; westward to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and the eastern Mediterranean; and then southward and westward from there into East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

 and West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

, whence it spread to the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 and Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

. It is known by many local names and often referred to as 'elephant ears' when grown as an ornamental plant
Ornamental plant
Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as house plants, for cut flowers and specimen display...

.

Cultivation

Top Taro Producers - 2009
(million metric tons)
4.4
1.7
1.7
1.5
0.3
World Total 11.3

Taro can be grown in paddy fields where water is abundant or in upland situations where watering is supplied by rainfall or by supplemental irrigation. Taro is one of the few crops (along with rice and lotus) that can be grown under flooded conditions. This is possible due to air spaces in the petiole which permit gaseous exchange with the atmosphere under water. For having maximum dissolved oxygen, water should be cool and flowing. Warm and stagnant water causes basal rotting. For maximum yields, the water level should be controlled, so that the base of the plant is always under water. Flooded cultivation has some advantages over the dry-land cultivation. They have higher yields (about double), out-of-season production is possible which might result into higher prices and flooding is good in controlling weeds. On the other hand in flooded production system taro needs a longer maturation period, investment in infrastructure and operational costs are higher, and monoculture is likely. Like most root crops, taro and eddoes do well on deep, moist or even swampy soils where the annual rainfall exceeds 250 cm. Eddoes are more resistant to drought and cold. The crop attains maturity within six to twelve months after planting in dry-land cultivation and after twelve to fifteen months for wetland cultivation. The crop is harvested after a decline in the height and when the leaves turn yellow. The signals are usually less distinct in flooded taro cultivation. Harvesting is usually done by hand tools, even in mechanized production systems. First the soil around the corm is loosened and then the corm is pulled up by grabbing the base of the petioles. The global average yield is 6.2 tones/hectare but vary according to different regions. In Asia, average yields reach 12.6 tones/hectare.

Toxicity

The plant is inedible when raw and considered toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate
Calcium oxalate
Calcium oxalate is a chemical compound that forms needle-shaped crystals, known in plants as raphides. A major constituent of human kidney stones, the chemical is also found in beerstone, a scale that forms on containers used in breweries...

 crystals, typically as raphides
Raphides
Raphides are needle-shaped crystals of calcium oxalate as the monohydrate or calcium carbonate as aragonite, found in more than 200 families of plants.Both ends are needle-like, but raphides tend to be more blunt at one end and more tapering at the other....

. The toxin is minimized by cooking, especially with a pinch of baking soda. It can also be reduced by steeping
Steeping
Steeping or weltering may mean:# Saturation in a liquid solvent to extract a soluble ingredient, where the solvent is the desired product. Tea is prepared for drinking by steeping the leaves in heated water to release the flavor and nutrients...

 taro roots in cold water overnight. Calcium oxalate is highly insoluble and contributes to kidney stone
Kidney stone
A kidney stone, also known as a renal calculus is a solid concretion or crystal aggregation formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals in the urine...

s. It has been recommended to take milk or other calcium rich foods with Taro. Taro leaves also must be handled with care due to toxicity of the leaves, but are completely safe after cooking.

Global Culinary Use

The corms are roasted, baked or boiled and the natural sugars give a sweet nutty flavour. The starch is easily digestible and grains are fine and small and often used for baby food. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C and contain more protein than the corms.

Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

In the Azores it is known as inhâme and is commonly used steamed with potatoes, vegetables and meats as well as fish. It is also consumed as a dessert, after being fried in vegetable oil or lard, after steaming and pealing. It is then sprinkled with sugar and eaten.
It grows in the fertile land of the Azores, as well as in creeks, that are fed by mineral springs. Through immigration, the inhâme is usually found in table of Azoreans wherever they may be.

Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

In Bangladesh it is known as mukhi kochu (মুখি কচু). It is usually cooked with small prawns into a thick curry
Curry
Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines...

.
In some areas it is cooked with dried fish. Its green leaves are also taken here as a favourite dish.

Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

In Brazil the root is known as inhame. It is often prepared like the potato: boiled, mashed, or stewed.
It is considered a health food, good for the immune system, particularly as a preventative against
malaria, yellow fever and dengue. It is also mashed raw into a plaster to treat boils and inflammation.

China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

Taro (called yùtou, 芋头 or yùnǎi, 芋艿 in China; 芋頭, wuh táu? in Hong Kong) is commonly used as a main course (steamed taro with or without white sugar, substitute to other Cereal) or within Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

 in a variety of styles, usually a flavor enhancing ingredient. It is commonly braised with pork or beef. It is used in the dim sum
Dim sum
Dim sum refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates...

 cuisine of southern China to make a small plated dish called taro dumpling
Taro dumpling
Taro dumpling is a variety of dim sum served within Chinese cuisine. It is a standard dish in dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong and around the world. Among overseas Chinatowns, it is often sold as a Chinese pastry....

, as well as a pan-fried dish called taro cake
Taro cake
Taro cake is a Chinese dish made from the vegetable taro. While it is denser in texture than radish cakes, both these savory cakes made in a similar ways, with rice flour as the main ingredient. When served in dim sum cuisine, it is cut into square-shaped slices and pan-fried before serving. It is...

. It is also woven to form a seafood birdsnest
Seafood birdsnest
Seafood birdsnest is a common Chinese cuisine dish found in Hong Kong, China and most overseas Chinatown restaurants. It is also found within Cantonese cuisine. It is usually classified as a mid to high-end dish depending on the seafood offered.-Basket:...

. The taro cake is also a delicacy traditionally eaten during the Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year – often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is lunisolar – is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an all East and South-East-Asia celebration...

. In desserts it is used in tong sui
Tong Sui
Tong sui, also known as tim tong, is a collective term for any sweet, warm soup or custard served as a dessert at the end of a meal in Cantonese cuisine. Tong sui are a Cantonese specialty and are rarely found in other regional cuisines of China...

, bubble tea
Bubble tea
Bubble tea is the name for pearl milk tea and other similar tea and juice beverages that originated in tea shops in Taichung, Taiwan during the 1980s. Drink recipes may vary, but most bubble teas contain a tea base mixed with fruit and/or milk...

, as a flavoring in ice cream and other desserts in the China(f. ex. Sweet Taro Pie). McDonald's sells Taro flavored pies in China.

Cook Islands
Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

There are many taro plantations on the pacific Cook Islands as the soil there is perfect for them. The root is eaten boiled as is standard across many Polynesian islands. The leaves are also eaten as a delicacy (known locally as Rukau or "Greens"), cooked with coconut milk, onion and meat or fish.

Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

It is eaten in soups, as a replacement for potatoes and in chips. It is known locally as "Ñame".

Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

In Cyprus, taro has been in use since the time of the Roman Empire. Today it is known as kolokass or kolokasi (κολοκάσι) which is similar to the name the Romans used: colocasia. It is usually stewed with celery
Celery
Apium graveolens is a plant species in the family Apiaceae commonly known as celery or celeriac , depending on whether the petioles or roots are eaten: celery refers to the former and celeriac to the latter. Apium graveolens grows to 1 m tall...

 (and sometimes meat) and coriander
Coriander
Coriander is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft, hairless plant growing to tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the...

 seeds in a tomato sauce. 'Baby' taro is called 'poulles' on the island and after being fried is stewed in a sauce of crushed garlic and freshly pressed lemon juice with water. Taro also grows on Ikaria island (Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

); Ikarians credit the taro for saving them from famine during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

In Egypt, taro is known as kolkas قلقاس. The corms are larger than what would be found in North American supermarkets. It is cooked in two different ways, after being peeled completely. It is cut into small cubes, and cooked in broth, with fresh coriander
Coriander
Coriander is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft, hairless plant growing to tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the...

 and swiss chard, it is served as an accompaniment to meat stew
Stew
A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables , meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used...

. Another method is to cut it in slices, and cooked with minced meat and tomato sauce.

Those who have done the compulsory army conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 remember the much reviled الطبخة السودا black dish, which is a combination of eggplants and taro cooked with no peeling, and cut in halves.

Recipe for Colcasia in Egyptian Cuisine

Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

Taro was consumed by the early Romans in much the same way the potato is today. They called this root vegetable colocasia. The Roman cook book Apicius
Apicius
Apicius is the title of a collection of Roman cookery recipes, usually thought to have been compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century AD and written in a language that is in many ways closer to Vulgar than to Classical Latin....

 mentions several methods for preparing taro including boiling, preparation with sauces and cooking with meat or fowl, After the fall of the Roman Empire, the use of taro dwindled in Europe. This was largely due to the decline of trade and commerce, from Egypt, previously controlled by Rome. It has remained popular in the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

. Recently however there has been renewed interest in exotic foods and consumption is increasing.

Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

Although taro (dalo in Fijian
Fijian language
Fijian is an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian family spoken in Fiji. It has 450,000 first-language speakers, which is less than half the population of Fiji, but another 200,000 speak it as a second language...

) has been a staple of the Fijian diet for centuries, its growth as a commercial crop can be said to have begun in 1993 when the taro leaf blight (Phytophthora colocasiae) decimated the taro industry in neighboring Samoa. Fiji filled the void and was soon supplying taro internationally.Almost 80% of Fiji's exported taro comes from the Island of Taveuni
Taveuni
Taveuni is the third-largest island in Fiji, after Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, with a total land area of 435 square kilometers . The cigar-shaped island, a massive shield volcano which rises from the floor of the Pacific Ocean, is situated 6.5 kilometers to the east of Vanua Levu, across the...

 where the taro beetle species (Papuana uninodis) is absent. The Fijian taro industry on the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu faces constant damage from the beetles. The Fiji Ministry of Agriculture and the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is researching pest control and instigating quarantine restrictions to prevent spread of the pest. Taveuni now exports pest damage free crops.

Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 

The newer name for a traditional Hawaiian feast, luau
Luau
A luau is a Hawaiian feast. It may feature food, such as poi, kalua pig, poke, lomi salmon, opihi, haupia, and beer; and entertainment, such as Hawaiian music and hula...

, comes from the taro always served: young taro tops baked with coconut milk and chicken or octopus legs.

Taro is usually grown in pondfields known as loi in Hawaiian
Hawaiian language
The Hawaiian language is a Polynesian language that takes its name from Hawaii, the largest island in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed. Hawaiian, along with English, is an official language of the state of Hawaii...

. The picture below shows several small loi in Maunawili Valley on Oahu
Oahu
Oahu or Oahu , known as "The Gathering Place", is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and most populous of the islands in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The state capital Honolulu is located on the southeast coast...

. The ditch on the left in the picture is called an auwai and supplies diverted stream water to the loi. Cool, flowing water yields the best crop.

Typical dryland or upland varieties (varieties grown in watered but not flooded fields) in Hawaii are lehua maoli and bun long, the latter widely known as Chinese taro. Bun long is used for making taro chips. Dasheen (also called "eddo") is another "dryland" variety of C. esculenta grown for its edible corms or sometimes just as an ornamental plant.

The Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service puts the 10-year median production of taro in the Hawaiian Islands at about 6.1 million pounds (2,800 t; Viotti, 2004). However, 2003 taro production in Hawaii was only 5 million pounds (2,300 t), an all-time low (record keeping started in 1946). The previous low, reached in 1997, was 5.5 million pounds (2,500 t). Yet, despite generally growing demand, production was even lower in 2005: only 4 million pounds, with kalo for processing into poi accounting for 97.5%. Urbanization has driven down harvests from a high of 14.1 million pounds (6,400 t) in 1948. But more recently the decline has resulted from pests and diseases. A non-native apple snail
Ampullariidae
Ampullariidae, common name the apple snails, is a family of large freshwater snails, aquatic gastropod mollusks with a gill and an operculum...

 (Pomacea canaliculata) is a major culprit in the current crop declines. Also, a plant rot disease, traced to a newly identified species of the fungal
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 genus, Phytophthora
Phytophthora
Phytophthora is a genus of plant-damaging Oomycetes , whose member species are capable of causing enormous economic losses on crops worldwide, as well as environmental damage in natural ecosystems. The genus was first described by Heinrich Anton de Bary in 1875...

, now plagues crops throughout the state. Although pesticides could control both pests to some extent, pesticide use in the pondfields is barred because of the clear opportunity for chemicals to quickly migrate into streams and then into the ocean. Genetic modifications are forbidden in Hawaii until 2013.

India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Taro or Eddoe
Eddoe
Eddoe is a tropical vegetable, a variety of Colocasia esculenta, closely related to taro , that is primarily used for its thickened stems . It has smaller corms than taro, and in all but the best cultivars there is an acrid taste that requires careful cooking...

 is a very common dish served in many ways.

In Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It is spread over , and is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east...

, a northern state in India, Taro is known as ghandyali in Mandi district
Mandi district
Mandi district is one of the central districts of Himachal Pradesh state in northern India. Mandi town is the headquarters of Mandi district Mandi. The town has both mythological and historical significance and boasts of a unique temple architecture...

. The dish called patrodu is made from the leaves of the ghandyali.

A tall-growing variety of taro is extensively used in the western coast of India to make patrode
Patrode
Patrode is a dish made in the Konkan region of the western coast of India. It is a popular dish for festive occasions among Konkanis. Regional variations of Patrode are Aluwadi made by the Marathis and Patra made by the Gujaratis, both of which are normally deep fried rather than steamed as in the...

, patrade or patrada, literally "leaf-pancake". In Dakshin Kannada district in the state of Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 this is used as a morning breakfast dish. It is either made like fritters, or steamed. In the state of Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

 the leaves, called alu che paana, are de-veined, rolled with a paste of gram flour, tamarind paste, red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, asoefotida, salt and steamed. These can be cut into pieces, eaten as such or shallow fried and eaten as a snack known as alu chi wadi. Alu chya panan chi patal bhaji,(अळूच्या वड्या आणि आळूच्या पानाची पातळ भाजी किवा अळू चा फदफद), a lentil and colocasia leaves curry, is also popular. In the Indian state of Gujarat the leaves of the plant are to make patra, a dish with tamarind and other spices. Sindhis call it kachaloo; they fry it, mash it and re-fry it to make a dish called took which complements Sindhi curry.

In Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, a state in southern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, taro corms are known as chembu-kizhangu. It is used as a staple food, as a side dish, or as a ingredient in various side dishes like sambar. As a staple food it is steamed, and eaten with a spicy chutney
Chutney
Chutney is a a condiment used in South Asian cuisine that usually contains a spice and vegetable mix.Chutneys are wet or dry, having a coarse to fine texture. The Anglo-Indian loan word refers to fresh and pickled preparations indiscriminately, with preserves often sweetened. At least several...

 of green chillies, tamarind and shallots. The leaves and stems of certain varieties of taro are used as a vegetable in Kerala.

In other Indian states, Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 & Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

, taro corms are known as sivapan-kizhangu(Seppankilangu OR Cheppankilangu), chamagadda or in coastal Andhra districts as chaama dumpa in Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

, and can be cooked in many ways, deep fried in oil for a side item with rice, or cooked in a tangy tamarind sauce with spices, onion and tomato.

In the East Indian state of West bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

,taro roots are thinly sliced and fried to make chips called 'kochu bhaja'.The stem is used to cook up a very tasty saag,often eaten as a starter with hot rice.The roots are also made into a paste with spices and eaten with rice. The most popular dish is a spicy curry
Curry
Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines...

 made with prawn and taro roots.

In the East Indian state of Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

, taro root is known as saru. Dishes made out of taro include saru besara (taro in mustard and garlic paste). It is also an indispensable ingedient in preparing the heart of Oriya
Oriya people
The Oriya, known classically by various names , are an ethnic group of eastern India and of eastern Indo-Aryan stock...

 cuisine, the dalma, where vegetables are cooked with dal
Dal
Dal is a preparation of pulses which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split. It also refers to the thick stew prepared from these, an important part of Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi cuisine...

. Taro roots deep fried in oil and mixed with red chili powder and salt, are known as saru chips.

In the Indian state of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand , formerly Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found throughout the state, some of which are among Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship...

 and neighbouring Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, it is considered a healthy food with a variety of cooking styles.The kumaon
Kumaon
Kumaon usually refers to:* Kumaon division, an administrative division of the state of Uttarakhand in Northern India* Kumaon Regiment, a highly-decorated regiment of the Indian Army* Kumaon University, in Nainital, Uttarakhand, India...

 region of uttarakhand calls it "gaderi". The most common style is boiling it in salty water in iron cooking pots until it becomes like porridge. Another style is to steam the young leaves called gava, sun-dry them and then store for later use. For another variety, the taro leaves and stems are used raw as an ingredient for pickles. The leaves and stems are mixed with black lentils and then dried as small balls called badi and used later on. The stems are also sun-dried and stored for later use. On one special day, women worship saptarshi ("seven sages") and have rice with taro leaf vegetable only.

Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

In Japan, it is called . The "child" and "grandchild" corms (cormels, cormlets) which bud from the parent satoimo, are called and , respectively, or more generally . Satoimo has been propagated in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 since the late Jōmon period
Jomon period
The is the time in Japanese prehistory from about 14,000 BC to 300 BC.The term jōmon means "cord-patterned" in Japanese. This refers to the pottery style characteristic of the Jōmon culture, and which has markings made using sticks with cords wrapped around them...

. It was a regional staple food before rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 became predominant. The tuber, satoimo, is often prepared through simmering in fish stock (dashi) and soy sauce. The stalk, zuiki, can also be prepared a number of ways, depending on its variety.

Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

In Lebanon, taro is known as kilkass and is mainly grown along the Mediterranean coast. The leaves and stems are not consumed in Lebanon and the variety grown produces round to slightly oblong tubers that vary in size from a tennis ball to a small cantaloupe. Kilkass is a very popular winter dish in Lebanon and is prepared in two ways: "kilkass with lentils" which is a stew flavored with crushed garlic and lemon juice and "kilkass in tahini
Tahini
Tahini or sesame paste , is a paste of ground sesame seeds used in cooking. North African, Greek and West Asian tahini is made of hulled, lightly roasted seeds. East Asian sesame paste is made of unhulled seeds. The Arabic word tahin simply means flour.Tahini is a major component of hummus and...

". Another common method of preparing taro is to boil, peel then slice it into 1 cm thick slices, before frying and marinating in edible "red" sumac
Sumac
Sumac is any one of approximately 250 species of flowering plants in the genus Rhus and related genera, in the family Anacardiaceae. Sumacs grow in subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world, especially in Africa and North America....

.

Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

Ala was widely grown in southern atolls, Addu, Fuvahmulah, Huvadhu, and Haddhunmathi. They considered it a staple food even after rice was introduced. Ala
Ala
Ala may refer to:* Ala , a female demon in the Serbian and Bulgarian mythology* Ala , an Alusi in Odinani* Ala , a Republican-period, largely infantry, formation of 5,400 men...

 and olhu ala is still widely eaten all over Maldives. It is cooked or steamed with salt to taste and eaten with grated coconut along with chili paste and fish soup. it is also prepared as a curry. The roots are sliced and fried to make chips and also used to prepare varieties of sweets.

Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

Taro is grown in the hilly regions of Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

. The modified stem (corm) of taro is known as pindalu (पिँडालु) and petioles with leaves are known as karkalo (कर्कलो) and also as Gava (गाभा). Almost all parts are eaten by making different dishes. Large leaves of taro are use as an alternative to umbrella when unexpected rain occurs. Boiled corm of Taro is commonly served with salt, spices and chillies.
It is popular among hill people. Chopped and dried leaf petioles are used to make cake called maseura.

Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

In the Philippines, taro is called gabi. A popular recipe for taro is laing ˈ which originates from the Bicol region in Southern Luzon. The dish's main ingredients are taro stem and leaf cooked in coconut milk, salted with fermented shrimp or fish bagoong
Bagoong
Bagoong is a Philippine condiment made of partially or completely fermented fish or shrimps and salt. The fermentation process also results in fish sauce .The preparation of bagoong can vary regionally in the Philippines....

. It is also heavily spiced with red hot chilies called siling labuyo ("Bird's eye chili"). Another dish where taro finds common use in the Filipino kitchen is the Philippine national stew, called sinigang
Sinigang
Sinigang is a Filipino soup or stew characterized by its sour flavor most often associated with tamarind .- Ingredients :Sinigang is traditionally tamarind based. Other versions of the dish derive their sourness from ingredients such as guava, calamansi, bilimbi, or raw mango among others...

. The sour stew is made with pork and beef, shrimp, or fish. Peeled and diced taro is a basic ingredient of pork sinigang and in ginataan, a coconut milk and taro desert recipe mixed with sago and jackfruit.

Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

In Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Taro or Eddoe
Eddoe
Eddoe is a tropical vegetable, a variety of Colocasia esculenta, closely related to taro , that is primarily used for its thickened stems . It has smaller corms than taro, and in all but the best cultivars there is an acrid taste that requires careful cooking...

 is a very common dish served with or without gravy; a popular dish is arvi gosht, which includes beef, lamb or mutton. The leaves are rolled along with gram flour batter and then fried or steamed to make a dish called Pakoda which is finished by tempering with red chillies and carrom (ajwain
Ajwain
Trachyspermum ammi, commonly known as ajowan, bishop's weed, ajwain, ajowan caraway, carom seeds, or thymol seeds, is a plant of India and the Near East whose seeds are used as a spice.-Characteristics:...

) seeds.

Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

Considered the staple starch of traditional Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

n cuisine, taro is both a common and prestigious food item that was first introduced to the Polynesian islands by prehistoric seafarers of Southeast Asian derivation. The tuber itself is prepared in various methods including baking, steaming in earth oven
Earth oven
An earth oven or cooking pit is one of the most simple and long-used cooking structures . At its simplest, an earth oven is simply a pit in the ground used to trap heat and bake, smoke, or steam food...

s (umu or imu), boiling, and frying. The famous Hawaiian staple poi
Poi (food)
Poi is a Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from the corm of the taro plant . Poi is produced by mashing the cooked corm until it is a highly viscous fluid...

 is made by mashing steamed taro roots with water. Taro also features in traditional desserts such as Samoan "fa'ausi", which consists of grated, cooked taro mixed with coconut milk and brown sugar. The leaves of the taro plant also feature prominently in Polynesian cooking, especially as edible wrappings for dishes such as Hawaiian laulau, Fijian & Samoan "palusami" (wrapped coconut milk and onions), and Tongan "lupulu" (wrapped corned beef). Ceremonial presentations on occasion of chiefly rites or communal events (weddings, funerals, etc.) traditionally included ritual presentation of raw and cooked taro roots/plants.
The Hawaiian laulau traditionally contains pork, fish, and lu'au (cooked taro leaf). The wrapping is with inedible ti leaves (Hawaiian: lau ki). The cooked taro leaf has the consistency of cooked spinach and would be unsuitable for use as a wrapping.

South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

In South Korea, it is called toran (: "egg from earth"), and the corm is stewed and the leaf stem is stir-fried. Taro roots can be used for medicinal purposes, particularly for treating insect bites. It is made into the Korean traditional soup toranguk (토란국). Taro stems are often used as an ingredient in yukgaejang
Yukgaejang
Yukgaejang is a spicy, soup-like Korean dish made from shredded beef with scallions and other ingredients, which are simmered together for a long time. It is a variety of gomguk, or thick soup, which was formerly served in Korean royal court cuisine...

 (육개장).

Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

Taro root is called ñame in Spanish and is largely cultivated in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands (Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

).

Suriname
Suriname
Suriname , officially the Republic of Suriname , is a country in northern South America. It borders French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south, and on the north by the Atlantic Ocean. Suriname was a former colony of the British and of the Dutch, and was previously known as...

In Suriname the taro root is called aroei by the Indians and is commonly known as "chinese tayer". The variety known as 'eddoe' is called Chinese tayer. It is a popular cultivar among the marroon population in the interior, also because it is not very affected by high water levels. The variety 'dasheen' is not very common, although appreciated for its taste. This is commonly planted in swamps. The closely related Xanthosoma species is the base for the popular Surinamese dish pom
Pom (dish)
Pom is a Surinamese-Jewish oven dish.Within the Surinamese community, in both Surinam and The Netherlands, Pom is the most popular and best known festive dish. From 1667 until 1975, Surinam was a Dutch colony, during this period the country became a melting pot of cultures and religions...

.

Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

In Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, where it is called ô-å (Taiwanese
Daighi tongiong pingim
Daī-ghî tōng-iōng pīng-im is an orthography in the Latin alphabet for Taiwanese Hokkien based upon Tongyong Pinyin. Up to the present, DT is one kind of orthographies for the Taiwanese language in general...

: 芋啊), supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

 varieties range from about the size and shape of a brussels sprout
Brussels sprout
The Brussels sprout is a cultivar of wild cabbage grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. The sprout is Brassica oleracea, in the "gemmifera" group of the family Brassicaceae...

 to longer, larger varieties the size of a man's fist. Taro chips are often used as a potato-chip-like snack. Compared to potato chips, taro chips are harder and have a more nutty
Nutty
Nutty was a British comic that ran for 292 issues from 16 February 1980 to 14 September 1985, when it merged with The Dandy. Published by D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd, Nutty was an attempt to create a more lively and chaotic comic compared to many on sale at the time. Its strips included:* Bananaman as...

 flavor. Other popular traditional Taiwanese taro snacks are deep-fried taro balls.

Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

In Thai cuisine taro (pheuak) is usaed in a variety of ways depending from the region. Boiled taro is readily available in the market, already peeled and diced, in small cellophane bags and is eaten as a snack. Pieces of boiled taro with coconut milk are one of the traditional Thai desserts. Raw taro is also often sliced and deep fried and sold in bags as chips (เผือกทอด).

Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

Taro is grown in the south coast of Turkey, especially in Mersin and Antalya. It is boiled in a tomato sauce or cooked with meat, beans and chickpeas.

United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

In American Chinatown
Chinatown
A Chinatown is an ethnic enclave of overseas Chinese people, although it is often generalized to include various Southeast Asian people. Chinatowns exist throughout the world, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Americas, Australasia, and Europe. Binondo's Chinatown located in Manila,...

s, people often use taro in Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

, though it is not as popular as in Asian and Pacific nations. Since the late 20th century, taro chips have been available in many supermarkets and natural food stores. In the 1920s, dasheen, as it was known, was highly touted by the Secretary of the Florida Department of Agriculture as a valuable crop for growth in muck fields. Fellsmere, Florida
Fellsmere, Florida
Fellsmere is a city in Indian River County, Florida, United States. The population was 3,813 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 4,658...

, near the east coast, was a farming area deemed perfect for growing dasheen. It was used in place of potatoes and dried to make flour. Dasheen flour was said to make excellent pancakes when mixed with wheat flour. In areas with large Spanish and Portuguese speaking communities (especially from former island colonies like Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, where it is called "malanga", Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

, Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

, etc.) it is called ñame or inhame.

Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

In Venezuela, where taro is called ocumo chino or "chino", it is used in soups and sancochos
Sancocho
Sancocho is a traditional soup in several Spanish and Latin American cuisines. Variations represent popular national dishes in the Canary Islands of Spain, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela...

. Soups are added large chunks or several kinds of tubers, including ocumo chino, especially in the eastern part of the country, where West Indies influences are present. It is also used to acompany meats in "parrillas" (barbecue), or fried cured fish where yuca is not available. "Ocumo" is a indigenous name, and "chino" means chinese, since people tend to give the "chinese" adjective to any produce that is considered "exotic". "Ocumo" without the chinese denomination is a tuber from the same family but without the purplish color taros have inside. Ocumo is the venezuelan name for malanga
Xanthosoma
Xanthosoma is a genus of about 50 species of tropical and sub-tropical arums in the flowering plant family, Araceae, all native to tropical America...

, so "ocumo chino" means "chinese malanga". Taro is always prepared boiled. No porridge form is known in the local cuisine.

Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

In Vietnam, where taro is called khoai môn, it is used as a filling in spring roll
Spring roll
Spring rolls is an umbrella term used in some Western cultures to describe disparate varieties of filled, rolled appetizers similar to the Chinese chūn juǎn , from which the term was derived...

s, cakes, puddings, smoothies, soups and other desserts.
Taro is used in the Tết
Tet
Tet can mean:*Tết or Tết Nguyên Đán, the Vietnamese new year**Tet Offensive, a military campaign that began in 1968*Têt in Roussillon, France*Equal temperament, abbreviated as 12-TET, 19-TET and so on...

 dessert chè khoai môn which is sticky rice pudding with taro roots. The stems are also used in soups such as canh chua
Canh chua
Canh chua is a sour soup indigenous to the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. It is typically made with fish from the Mekong River Delta, pineapple, tomatoes , and bean sprouts, in a tamarind-flavored broth...

.

West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

Taro is consumed as a staple crop in West Africa, particularly in Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

, Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 and Cameroon
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

. It is called cocoyam
Cocoyam
Cocoyam can mean:* Taro - old cocoyam* Malanga - new cocoyam...

 in Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 and Anglophone Cameroon
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

 or macabo in Francophone Cameroon
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

. Cocoyam, is often boiled, fried or roasted and eaten with a sauce. In Ghana, it substitutes plantain
Plantain
Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana...

 in making Fufu
Fufu
Fufu, , is a staple snack of West and Central Africa. It is a thick paste usually made by boiling starchy root vegetables in water and pounding with a mortar and pestle until the desired consistency is reached...

 when plantains are out of season. It is also cut into small pieces to make a soupy baby food and appetizer called mpotompoto. Cocoyam leaves locally called kontomire in Ghana, is a popular vegetable for local sauces such as palaver sauce
Palaver sauce
Palaver sauce or Palava sauce is a type of stew widely eaten in West Africa, including Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The word palaver comes from the Portuguese language and means a talk, lengthy debate or quarrel. It is unclear how this led to the name of the stew...

 and egusi
Egusi
Egusi seeds are the fat- and protein-rich seeds of certain cucurbitaceous plants. Authorities disagree whether the word is used more properly for the seeds of the colocynth, those of a particular large-seeded variety of the watermelon, or generically for those of any cucurbitaceous plant...

 / agushi stew.

West Indies

Taro is called "dasheen", in contrast to the smaller corms called "eddo
Eddoe
Eddoe is a tropical vegetable, a variety of Colocasia esculenta, closely related to taro , that is primarily used for its thickened stems . It has smaller corms than taro, and in all but the best cultivars there is an acrid taste that requires careful cooking...

" in the English speaking countries of the West Indies, and is cultivated and consumed as a staple crop in the region. In the Spanish speaking countries of the Spanish West Indies
Spanish West Indies
The Spanish West Indies was the contemporary name for the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean...

 it is called ñame, the Portuguese variant of which (inhame) is used in former Portuguese colonies where taro is still cultivated, including the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

 and Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. In Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, it is sometimes called "malanga",

In some countries, such as Trinidad & Tobago, the leaves of the Dasheen, or Taro, are most often pureed into a thick soup called callaloo
Callaloo
Callaloo is a popular Caribbean dish served in different variants in across the Caribbean. The main ingredient is a leaf vegetable, traditionally either amaranth , taro or Xanthosoma. Both are known by many names including callaloo, coco, tannia, bhaaji, or dasheen bush...

. Callaloo is sometimes prepared with crab
Crab
True crabs are decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura, which typically have a very short projecting "tail" , or where the reduced abdomen is entirely hidden under the thorax...

 and crab legs in it, coconut milk, pumpkin and okra. It is usually served alongside rice.

Further Information

  • Hao, Sean. 2006. "Rain, pests and disease shrink taro production to record low". Honolulu Advertiser, February 2, 2006, p. C1.
  • "The Future of Kalo" Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine
    Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine
    Maui Nō Ka Oi Magazine is a bi-monthly regional magazine published by the Haynes Publishing Group in Wailuku, Hawaii.The phrase Maui nō ka ʻoi means "Maui is unparallel" in the Hawaiian language. Maui Nō Ka Oi Magazine features stories relating to the culture, art, dining, environmental issues,...

     Vol.11 No. 5 (August 2006).
  • "Powered by Poi" Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine
    Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine
    Maui Nō Ka Oi Magazine is a bi-monthly regional magazine published by the Haynes Publishing Group in Wailuku, Hawaii.The phrase Maui nō ka ʻoi means "Maui is unparallel" in the Hawaiian language. Maui Nō Ka Oi Magazine features stories relating to the culture, art, dining, environmental issues,...

    Vol.11 No.4 (July 2007)
  • Stephens, James M. 1994. Dasheen –– Colocasia exculenta (L.) Schott. Fact Sheet HS-592 from a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. May 1994. edis
  • Taro climate at Green-Seeds.com (taro growing methods)
  • Taveuni Taro at fijitaro.com (Fiji taro industry history)
  • Viotti, V. 2004. Honolulu Advertiser, March 16, 2004.
  • Wagner, W. L., D. R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai‘i. Revised edition. Vol. 2. Univ. of Hawei‘i Press/Bishop Museum Press. p. 1357.
  • Cho, John J, Yamakawa, Roy A., and James Hollyer. 2007. Hawaiian Kalo, Past and Future. Sustainable Agriculture

001. 8 p. http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/SA-1.pdf.

External links

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