Forwarding again for Id confirmation or otherwise please.
That looks well within the range of variability of Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott sensu latu (cf Plucknett 1983. Taxonomy of the genus Colocasia. In: Taro a review of Colocasia esculenta and its Potentials).
In such modified habitats, it could be a natural wild form (wildtype) taking advantage of open, wet conditions, or it could be a cultivar that has naturalised. Our present knowledge of variability in wild and cultivated populations of C. esculenta is not really enough to recognise C. antiquorum as a species (which was probably described by Schott on the basis of a cultivated form).
It would be useful to ask local people if they consider it an edible, corm-forming type, or an acrid wild form with little value, or with minor uses. If considered inedible by them, and if the same form widespread both in modified habitats and more natural environments in your area, and if it forms a breeding population - then it could be a natural population that has expanded into modified habitats. If the distribution is very localised and mainly in modified habitats, then it is more likely to be a feral (naturalised) cultivar.
The petioles of cultivated forms of taro range in colour from pale yellow through light green to dark green, purple and near black, leaf shapes are extremely diverse, spadix morphology is also diverse (sterile appendage varies greatly from absent to very long), and vegetative side shoots range from cormels, to short stolons with cormels, and long stolons without cormels.
When the morphology of a wild form lies within the range of the variability of a highly polymorphic cultigen such as C. esculenta, we need to know a lot more about a particular wild population before we can consider it it to be a wildtype, or a natural species distinct from the cultigen.
Peter M., Kyoto
Dr Peter J. Matthews
Field Sciences Laboratory &
Department of Social Research
National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Expo Park, Suita City, Osaka 565-8511, Japan.
Tel. +81-6-6878-8344 (office).
Tel. +81-6-6876-2151 (exchange, J. only)
Fax. +81-6-6878-7503 (office)
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