Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Types of Elephant Ear Plants

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017

Elephant ears, known botanically as Colocasia or Taro, is a genus of tropical perennial plants grown from underground tubers. More than 200 species of colocasia exist and many have a tuber that is grown as a food source. They produce large leaves with ruffled or crenelated edges that resemble an elephant's ear, hence their name. Colocasias grow most vigorously in the summer and fall and produce flowers during the summer. As tropicals, they are extremely sensitive to cold, and hardy only in USDA Zones 9b through 11. Elephant ears can be damaged or killed by temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit.


Fontanesia is a purple-stemmed colocasia with leaves that are divided by maroon veins. The leaves are edged in the same maroon hue as the petioles, which connect the leaf to the stem.


Illustris is a colocasia that sports black leaves interspersed with bright green veining that sit atop dark violet stems and petioles. The plant reaches roughly 30 inches at maximum height.

Black Magic

Black Magic is a larger colocasia that reaches 5 feet in height and sports unusually dark purple black leaves and petioles over greenish-black stems.


Escuelenta is a green-leafed and green-stemmed colocasia that reaches a maximum of 6 feet in height and has prominent veining that is green and only slightly darker than the leaf field tissue.