It is a perennial, tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corm, and as a leaf vegetable and is considered a staple in African, Oceanic and Asian cultures. It is known by many local names and often referred to as 'elephant ears' when grown as an ornamental plant. The corms, which have a light purple color due to phenolic pigments, are roasted, baked or boiled and the natural sugars give a sweet nutty flavor. The starch is easily digestible and grains are fine and small and often used for baby food. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C and contain more protein than the corms.
Taro is native to southeast Asia.Taro can be grown in paddy fields where water is abundant or in upland situations where watering is supplied by rainfall or by supplemental irrigation. Taro is one of the few crops (along with rice and lotus) that can be grown under flooded conditions.