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.

My failed selfie with the stolons - due to their length!

Amma and prachet for comparison

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 :) 


  1. Thanks Vasantha - for this - we are hearing and seeing for the first time .. but now it is given to understand that it is sold in the Mangalore Car street market during season and there are many dishes made out of it. Interesting - but it is not widely known and thanks for throwing some light on this..If we look around there may be many such useful "veggies"


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