Scientific Name:
Colocasia esculenta
Toxic Parts:
oxalates raphides
Flower Color:
gardens, landscapes, ornamentals

Geographical Distribution

Elephant ears distribution - United States

Elephant Ears

Colocasia esculenta

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Elephant ears (Colocasia esculenta) is a tuberous evergreen tropical perennial which is known for its large, long-stalked, heart-shaped or arrow-shaped, soft velvety, rich-green leaves. The leaves droop and point towards the ground.

The leaves of this plant contain raphides, which are tiny, needle-shaped crystals made up of calcium oxalate. When the plant tissues are damaged, the raphides shoot out the idioblasts, which act like tiny needles, cutting into the lining of the mouth, esophagus, and/or gastrointestinal tract of the bird. Since raphides also contain toxic proteins, the lacerations made by the raphides allow these compounds to enter through the wounds, causing intense pain and harm to the surrounding tissues.