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  Help in identifying a taro cultivar
From: "Eric Walton" <ewalton at hort.cri.nz> on 1997.08.12 at 07:32:38(1044)
Dear All

I am wondering if someone could help me with an identification of 'a
taro'.

Last week I was on holiday in Cairns, in north-eastern Queenland,
Australia. While visiting the local botanical gardens I saw a most
beautiful taro. The leaves were completely reddish purple in colour
with a mat finish. The leaves came out green, veins purple, and
turned green with age. The largest plants were about 2 feet tall. I
suspect the plant multiplies by offsets but perhaps also runners.
I was told by the Curator of the gardens that it was a cultivar of
Colocasia esculentum. Can anybody offer me more information than
that? Or better still a piece of the plant! I took a few photos but
they have not been developed as yet.

Should anybody be visiting Cairns, I recommend a visit. It is in
tropical Australia and (to my eye anyway!), it has wonderful
collections of aroids, palms and gingers in a well landscaped
setting.

Thanks in advance

Eric Walton

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From: "Alan Galloway" <alan at unity.ncsu.edu> on 1997.08.12 at 07:57:05(1045)
On Aug 12, 9:36am, Eric Walton wrote:
> Subject: Help in identifying a taro cultivar
> Dear All
>
> I am wondering if someone could help me with an identification of 'a
> taro'.
>
> Last week I was on holiday in Cairns, in north-eastern Queenland,
> Australia. While visiting the local botanical gardens I saw a most
> beautiful taro. The leaves were completely reddish purple in colour
> with a mat finish. The leaves came out green, veins purple, and
> turned green with age.

Sounds exactly like Colocasia 'Black Magic, aka, C. 'Jet Black wonder'
My experience has been that if it is treated as an aquaitc it will only
get to 2 feet tall, but if put out in the garden in full sun, it will
easily reach 6 to 8 feet tall in a growing season.
This plant has proven quite cold hardy here in USDA Zone 7.

This plant was originally discovered in the Phillipines as an aquatic

Plant Delights Nurs. here in Raleigh, NC carries this plant, see there
web page at: http://www.plantdel.com

This plant is probably the most asked about plant in my garden.

Alan

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From: Steve Marak <samarak at arachne.uark.edu> on 1997.08.12 at 08:30:51(1046)
On Tue, 12 Aug 1997, Alan Galloway wrote:

> On Aug 12, 9:36am, Eric Walton wrote:
> >
> > While visiting the local botanical gardens I saw a most
> > beautiful taro. The leaves were completely reddish purple in colour
> > with a mat finish. The leaves came out green, veins purple, and
> > turned green with age.
>
> Sounds exactly like Colocasia 'Black Magic, aka, C. 'Jet Black wonder'
> This plant was originally discovered in the Phillipines as an aquatic

Eric, Alan, et. al.,

As you may recall, I too have such a plant, acquired a few months back
from a local nursery specializing in aquatics for ponds. The name was
corrupted (they called it "Voodoo") but the description is identical.

Alan, you seem to know something about the origin. I assume it is indeed a
C. esculentum variety? Am I correct in inferring from your statement that
it was a chance mutation and discovery rather than a result of (human)
selection and breeding? Are the inflorescences (mine hasn't flowered)
typical of C. esculentum, or unusual in any way?

We find it remarkable for 2 reasons. One is the degree of color change in
the leaves - when they first unfurl, they are no darker than several other
varieties we've seen, but wind up black. Second, this change occurs very
quickly - just a day or so. It's definitely a winner, very striking.

Steve

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