Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Taro: Origins and Development

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2190

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), 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, Figs. 1...
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  1. Denham, T. & H. Barton 2006. The emergence of agriculture in New Guinea, in D. J. Kennett & B. Winterhalder (ed.) Behavioural ecology and the transition to agriculture: 237-264. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  2. Matthews, P. J. 1991. A possible tropical wildtype taro: Colocasia esculenta var. aquatilis. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 11: 69-81.Google Scholar
  3. - 2006. Written records of taro in the eastern Mediterranean, in Z. F. Ertug (ed.) Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress of Ethnobotany (ICEB 2005): 419-426. Istanbul: Yayinlari.Google Scholar
  4. Plucknett, D. L. 1983. Taxonomy of the genus Colocasia, in J.-K. Wang (ed.) Taro: a review of Colocasia esculenta and its potentials. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  5. Nguyen, V.D. 2005. New species of genus Colocasia (Araceae) for flora of Vietnam. VNU Journal of Science 11(3): 54-56.Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Heng, L. & P. C. Boyce. 2010. Colocasia Schott, in Z. Y. Wu, P. H. Raven & D. Y. Hong (ed.) Flora of China, Volume 23: Acoraceae through Cyperaceae. Beijing: Science Press.Google Scholar
  2. Rao, V. R., P. J. Matthews, P. B. Eyzaguirre & D. Hunter. (ed.) 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 (CT): Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Spriggs, M., D. A. Addison & P. J. Matthews. (ed.) 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 Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Museum of EthnologyOsakaJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Ecology and Biological ResourcesHanoiVietnam