Tahitian Taro, Celery Leaf Taro /Colocasia Esculenta/
Celery leaf taro was developed for its yield of edible leaves and stems rather than its roots. The leaves and leaf stems are eaten as a cooked, green vegetable; the stems are widely used as a celery substitute in tropical areas.
Stems are good peeled and boiled. They can be sliced and added to an Asian style salad. They have an interesting spongy texture.
Young leaves are cooked or used as a wrapper before steaming or baking food.
Corms can be peeled then boiled, mashed, baked or fried as chips etc., in much the same way as potatoes.
The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals that irritate the mouth and cause an unpleasant sensation if they are eaten raw. These are easily removed with cooking or dehydrating.
Subtropics to tropics
Taro needs a long frost-free growing season. It prefers a lightly shaded position and a very fertile and moisture-retentive soil that is rich in organic matter. If you have a low, boggy part of the garden, this is the place to plant your taro!
Taro will tolerate occasional drought conditions and will go dormant but will then Spring back to life with the rain.
Taro is more productive when densely planted, so let it grow into a dense patch or intercrop with bananas and papayas.
Side dress with compost or liquid fertiliser every three months.
The stem is the main part eaten.
Corms are edible but small in this variety.
Risks and weed potential
Some taro varieties have escaped cultivation and have colonized creeks.
Grow away from drains and waterways and take care with planting material.
Harvesting & Processing
Harvest individual stems as needed. Harvest outside stems as new leaves grow from the centre.