Elephant Ear 'Illustris' or 'Black Magic'

Colocasia esculenta var. antiquorum 'Illustris' or 'Black Magic'

Family:
Araceae Black Magic Elephant Ear

Lifecycle:
Perennial

Native or Introduced:
Introduced

Nutrient Removal Rating:
Low-Medium

Wildlife Value:picture of elephant ear
Low

Invasiveness:
Low

Rooted or Floating:
Rooted

Site Requirements:
Shade to part shade

Maximum Water Depth:
3 inches

Plant Description:
Elephant ear is an herbaceous plant that stores energy in large underground starchy organs called corms. Plants spread horizontally over time through vegetative means.

Large leaves grow directly from the corm. Leaf blades are green and/or purple. In some cases, the blades may be more than 20 inches long and 12 inches wide. Petioles are long (sometimes as long as 3 feet) and arise from horizontal stems.

Flowering occurs rarely - late spring to late fall. The flowers consist of a spike and a single large leafy spathe.

Elephant ear cannot survive in areas where temperatures fall below freezing for extended periods. It may grow in shallow waters found in swamps or along the banks of bodies of water.

Sources:

  • Audlbach-Smith, C.A., deKozlowski, S.J. 1996. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
  • Flora of North America (see link below)

Additional reading: