Taro: Origins and Development

  • Peter J. Matthews
  • 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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References

  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
  2. Golson, J., T. Denham, P. Hughes, J.D. Muke, and P. Swadling. 2017. Ten thousand years of cultivation at Kuk Swamp in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, Terra Australis 46. Acton: A.C.T. ANU Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Matthews, P.J. 1991. A possible tropical wildtype taro: Colocasia esculenta var. aquatilis. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 11: 69–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Matthews, P.J. 2006. Written records of taro in the eastern Mediterranean. In Proceedings of the fourth international congress of ethnobotany (ICEB 2005), ed. Z.F. Ertug, 419–426. Istanbul: Yayinlari.Google Scholar
  5. Matthews, P.J., V.D. Nguyen, D. Tandang, E.M. Agoo, and D.A. Madulid. 2015. Taxonomy and ethnobotany of Colocasia esculenta and C. formosana (Araceae): Implications for the evolution, natural range, and domestication of taro. Aroideana 38E: 153–176.Google Scholar
  6. Matthews, P.J., P.J. Lockhart, and I. Ahmed. 2017. Phylogeography, ethnobotany and linguistics: Issues arising from research on the natural and cultural history of taro, Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott. Man in India 97: 353–380.Google Scholar
  7. Nguyen, V.D. 2005. New species of genus Colocasia (Araceae) for flora of Vietnam. VNU Journal of Science 11 (3): 54–56.Google Scholar
  8. Plucknett, D.L. 1983. Taxonomy of the genus Colocasia. In Taro: A review of Colocasia esculenta and its potentials, ed. J.-K. Wang, 14–19. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar

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