Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Black Stem Elephant Ear, Violet Stemmed Taro
Colocasia fontanesii

Family: Araceae (a-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Colocasia (kol-oh-KAY-see-uh) (Info)
Species: fontanesii (fon-tan-EZ-ee-eye) (Info)
Additional cultivar information: (aka Fontanesii)

Synonym:Colocasia esculenta
Synonym:Colocasia violacea

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

18 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ponds and Aquatics
Tropicals and Tender Perennials

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens
This plant is resistant to deer
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Happenstance
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There are a total of 33 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive weatherguesser On Sep 15, 2008, weatherguesser from Salinas, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This has been a banner year for all of my elephant ears, but particularly the black stem -- in early spring it spawned an offshoot that's now nearly as large as the parent plant, and just yesterday (September 14) I noticed another shoot coming up about 20 inches away. The original plant also had several blooms this year. This is a very attractive plant, pretty care-free (basically all I've done is water it, feed it occasionally, and pull off the dead leaves), and a real asset to the garden.

Positive foodiesleuth On Dec 1, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

Our black taro has done extremely well and we mix it into our landscaping. It does not necessarily have to live in wet, boggy areas. We have lots of keiki (baby) plants coming up in other areas as volunteers. I'm posting a photo of our black taro.

Positive snookums On Oct 23, 2004, snookums from Moline, IL wrote:

I'm from Zone 5, and my Black Stem was huge, and a great conversation plant. It had many babies. For my zone I cut it back to where the last leaf is just read to unfold. Removed the side shoots and just pot up and overwinter it in my basement, giving them enough water to live until spring. After danger of frost, they go back outside again.

This is what I've also done with 'Portadora' and all the rest of my babies - it's a bit more work but they will come back just as beautiful.

Positive TXMel On Oct 10, 2004, TXMel from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

We have this Taro growing in our pond. Well, it used to grow in our waterfall, then it took over. What creeped outside the falls grew into the surrounding soil and did well. It overwintered fine, and came back this year with no problems. I even dug several up and transplanted them around in different areas as well as giving some to family out of state. All are doing well, growing in the soil, in our heat. We love the tropical look that they give, and how carefree they are!

Positive Terry On Aug 31, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Has been a nice addition to my bog garden this year. Not quite as robust-growing as the plain green Taro, but the stem color is interesting.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Tuskegee, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Conway, Arkansas
Brea, California
Clayton, California
Fairfield, California
Hayward, California
Paradise, California
Salinas, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
San Leandro, California
Van Nuys, California
Gainesville, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii
Moline, Illinois
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Columbia, South Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
Prosperity, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Desoto, Texas
Houston, Texas
La Porte, Texas
Pflugerville, Texas
Renton, Washington
White Center, Washington

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