Forest forage food - taro stolons
Taro - the well known group of vegetables
Being vegetable growers for home use in all seasons, we are well aware of the hardship of growing veggies. It requires repeated work,attention, handling insect attack at times, daily watering and so on.
However, there are quite a few natural edible stuff which occur seasonally as per the schedule set by sun, rain, moisture levels and other countless determining factors. In contrast to home grown vegetables, these don’t require any attention to grow and some effort to harvest. Rest of the process - the cooking part - is common to both. Taro is one such plant which is found both naturally and cultivated at times.
|Colocasia Esculenta - Taro with stolons|
Taro is the generic word used for a lot of plants which look like the plant in the below picture. Colocasia esculenta is the scientific name for some types of taros.
Interestingly Colocasia esculenta has many variants, with slightly different leaf shape, leaf-stalk colour and tuber shape.
There is one variety which gives running stolons for vegetative propagation during August to November season. These runners are edible and tasty and malleable to make many different delicacies.
Stolons, the crawling baby plants
Stolons, botanically are the reproductive structures - kind of umbilical cord - which runs above ground or just at the surface.
|Stolon just started growing from the mother plant|
The mother plant wants to make as many new plants when it has accumulated sufficient energy at the end of rainy season. There are 2 ways:
- To give out as many stolons as possible
- To run these stolons (runners) as far as possible to extend its colony. The new plants thus created will lose connection with mother plant and become independent. So beautiful and diverse are the ways of nature to manifest itself as life forms.
Both these qualities are of benefit to the mother plant as well us humans.
I could collect stolons as long as 6 feet. We had a nice ‘majjige huLi’ today made out of taro stolons.
We should be careful not to over consume these natural treasures so that they don’t vanish from our surroundings. Best approach is to avoid commercial distribution, which looks like the universal solution for all our problems :)