How to plant taioba

Xanthosoma sagittifolium

Taioba is often confused with several species known as taro, a name that is sometimes also used to name it. It also shares with these species the popular name elephant ear, generally more used when they are grown as ornamental plants.


The taioba grows best in hot and humid weather, with temperatures above 20 ° C. This plant does not support low temperatures.


Taioba can be grown both in a place with direct sunlight and in a place with partial shade.


Cultivate in well-drained, fertile soil, rich in organic matter. The ideal soil pH is between 5.8 and 6.3. Avoid compacted and very clayey soils. Thaioba can, however, withstand soils that are subject to waterlogging.


Irrigate in order to keep the soil always moist. Adult plants are resistant to drought, but do not grow well if water is lacking.


The planting is usually done with pieces of its corm or with lateral shoots that appear close to the main corm. They are planted 6 to 10 cm deep, with a spacing of 1 m to 1.3 m between plants or 1 m between lines and 40 to 50 cm between plants.


Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources, especially in the first months after planting.


Leaf harvesting can begin 60 to 75 days after planting. Taioba corms can be harvested from 7 to 12 months after planting, depending on the cultivated variety and cultivation conditions. The corms must be carefully dug up, trying to avoid injuries that can greatly accelerate their deterioration.

The frequent harvest of the leaves hinders the development of the corm, so the ideal is to plant with a single purpose, the harvest of the leaves or the harvest of the corms, although it is still possible to harvest both, with lower yield of the corm harvest.

Both corms and leaves should be cooked or roasted before consumption to eliminate raffids (calcium oxalate crystals in the form of needles). In taioba the concentration of raffids is lower than that present in most cultivars of taro, and its leaves can be a good substitute for spinach, and can be prepared generally in the same way as this.

Xanthosoma sagittifolium and other similar looking species

Distinguishing the species Xanthosoma sagittifolium from some other species of araceae can be quite difficult. Confusing one species with another can have serious consequences if the wrong plant is consumed. Many of these species are edible, but the method of preparation necessary for their consumption can vary widely, not only from species to species, but from cultivation to cultivation.

Difference between Xanthosoma sagittifolia and Colocasia esculenta :

Both have very similar leaves, which normally point downwards, but one has pelleted leaves ( Colocasia ) and the other does not ( Xanthosoma ). In a pelleted leaf, the petiole is not inserted at the edge of the limbus, but inside. In addition, the corms of Alocasia are generally rounded and smaller, those of Xanthosoma are generally long and slightly larger. Contrary to what some people claim, the color of petioles and leaf limbs cannot be used to differentiate these plants.

Difference between Xanthosoma sagittifolia and plants of the genus Alocasia

Generally, plants of the genus Alocasia have leaves that point upwards or remain close to horizontal, while plants of the genus Xanthosoma point downwards.

However, there may be cultivars that are exceptions to the rules described above, and these rules may not apply to other species that are also very similar to taioba and taro, so it can be quite difficult to distinguish genera and species. Sometimes the distinction between the different species is only possible when analyzing the inflorescences. The above guide is not complete and is not completely reliable.

The best attitude is not to consume wild or unknown plants. Start planting with seedlings or corms purchased from a reliable source.

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