I understand that Hawaiians bred hundreds of varieties of edible taro before western crops took over as mainstays on their farms. Does anyone know if the Colocasia esculenta varieties sold in the ornamental trade are of the same food value? Do some taste better than others?
As an example, here is an extensive list of Colocasia esculenta cultivars that grow in my hardiness zone. I'd like to pick one that won't overly bully its neighbors and figured a purple or variegated variety would have enough reduced vigor to make that possible:
I would love to know this myself. I have an un-named variety of Colocasia esculenta but have not yet tried to eat it.
posted 6 years ago
I think I'm going to go with Colocasia 'Elepaio' which is the first one on that list. Since the catalog description said it was an old Hawaiian variety I looked it up and found it is edible and supposed to make good poi. One person says it was historically only grown by the Hawaiian royal family.
I'd still love to know if anyone has experience with eating other ornamental C. esculenta. Also, anyone know if red/purple varieties are commonly eaten?
I am also curious about this. Bumping the post back to the light
Treehugger Organic Farms
Location: Big Island, Hawaii
posted 6 years ago
Ornamental taro is Edible - if you are extra hungry. At least the leaf will be, although it will take a long long time to cook. Most "ornamental" taro I have seen doesn't produce a corm of significant size.
I'm growing a dozen or more varieties. Mostly traditional Hawaiian varieties, although I did just plant out a bunch of bun-long (Chinese taro) and a new hybrid variety. Three varieties (don't know the names) I grow haven't produced any corm in two years - all three are "running" - ie they spread quickly. Which is cool because they hold their own against grasses and weeds. I use these ones for the leaf - known as "lu'au". Cooked as a spinach. The ornamental "black magic" vareity has never produced corm in 5 years of growing, and I've never bothered to eat the leaf - it's for looking at, and is a really striking plant.
Point being, try to find a known edible variety. Taro is ornamental in it's own right.
Big Island, Hawaii, 2,000 ft elevation, 200+ inches yearly rainfall.
Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono