Taro: Origins and Development

  • Peter J. MatthewsEmail author
  • Dzu V. Nguyen
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_2190-2

Basic Species Information

Taro (less commonly: cocoyam, dasheen, eddoe) (English), kolokasi (Greek), qolqas (Arabic), kachu (Bengalese), arvi (Hindi), pein-u (Burmese), yu (Chinese), satoimo (Japanese), khoai nuoc (Vietnamese), gabi (Tagalog), kaladi (Malay), talas (Palawan, Bahasa), taro (Maori, Samoan), ma (Papua New Guinea), gwaza (Hausa), iso koko (Yoruba), ede epi (Igbo), and mayugwa (Zanzibar). The genus Colocasia (L.) contains at least nine and perhaps many more distinct species, all of which are found in humid to semiaquatic habitats in Southeast Asia to Southern China. They are soft acrid herbs, often 0.5–2 m tall, leaves large, heart-shaped, with blades supported on long centrally inserted petioles (hence peltate) above an erect or underground corm. Male and female flowers appear on the same inflorescence (spadix with spathe, raised on a peduncle). After pollination by insects, numerous berries with many small seeds are produced. Some species, including taro ( C. esculenta,...
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  1. Chaïr, H., R.E. Traore, M.F. Duval, R. Rivallan, A. Mukherjee, and L.M. Aboagye. 2016. Genetic diversification and dispersal of taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott). PLoS One 11 (6): e0157712.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0157712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Further Reading

  1. Grimaldi, I.M. Taro across the oceans: Journeys of one of our oldest crops. In News from the past: Progress in African archaeobotany, Advances in archaeobotany, ed. U. Thanheiser, vol. 3, 67–82. Eelde: Barkhuis.Google Scholar
  2. Rao, V.R., P.J. Matthews, P.B. Eyzaguirre, and D. Hunter, eds. 2010. The global diversity of taro: Ethnobotany and conservation. Rome: Bioversity International.Google Scholar
  3. Rumphius, G. E. 2011. (17th C) The Ambonese herbal. Translated, annotated and introduced by E. M. Beekman. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Spriggs, M., D.A. Addison, and P.J. Matthews, eds. 2012. Irrigated taro (Colocasia esculenta) in the Indo-Pacific: Biological, social and historical perspectives, 307–340. Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Museum of EthnologyOsakaJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources and Graduate University of Science and Technology (Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology)HanoiVietnam

Section editors and affiliations

  • Dorian Q. Fuller
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK