Colocasia Species, Black Taro, Black Stem Elephant Ear, Violet Stemmed Taro

Colocasia antiquorum

Family: Araceae (a-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Colocasia (kol-oh-KAY-see-uh) (Info)
Species: antiquorum (an-ti-KWOR-um) (Info)
Synonym:Colocasia fontanesii
Synonym:Colocasia gaoligongensis
Synonym:Colocasia gongii
Synonym:Colocasia lihengiae
Synonym:Colocasia tonoimo



Ponds and Aquatics

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade




This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

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

Mansfield, Texas

Pflugerville, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Renton, Washington

White Center, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 15, 2008, weatherguesser from Battle Ground, WA (Zone 8b) 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.


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.


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.


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!


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.