Eddoe or eddo is a tropical vegetable often considered identifiable as the species Colocasia antiquorum, closely related to taro (dasheen, Colocasia esculenta), which is primarily used for its thickened stems (corms). It has smaller corms than taro, and in most cultivars there is an acrid taste that requires careful cooking. The young leaves can also be cooked and eaten, but (unlike taro) they have a somewhat acrid taste.
Eddoes appear to have been developed as a crop in China and Japan and introduced from there to the West Indies where they are sometimes called "Chinese eddoes". They grow best in rich loam soil with good drainage, but they can be grown in poorer soil, in drier climates, and in cooler temperatures than taro.
Eddoes make part of the generic classification cará or inhame of the Portuguese language which, beside taro, also includes root vegetables of the genera Alocasia and Dioscorea. They are the most commonly eaten inhames/carás in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, as well as surrounding regions of all. They are also fairly common in Northeastern Brazil, where they might be called batata (literally "potato"), but less so than true yams of the genus Colocasia. According to Brazilian folk knowledge, the eddoes most appropriate to be cooked are those that are more deeply pink, or at least pinkish lavender, in the area where the leaves were cut.
The 1889 book The Useful Native Plants of Australia records that Colocasia antiquorum:
is cultivated in most tropical countries, Egypt, India, etc., for the sake of its leaves, which when uncooked are acrid, but on boiling, the water being changed, they lose their acridity, and may be eaten as spinach." (Treasury of Botany) Acid fruits are added to assist the removal of the acridity. Hindoos [sic.] and Mahometans [sic.] are very fond of all parts of the plants of this genus." (Dymock.) "When the crop is gathered in Fiji," says Dr. Seemann (Flora Vtliensis), " the tops of the tubers are cut off and at once replanted. The young leaves may be eaten like spinach, but, like the root, they require to be well cooked in order to destroy the acridity peculiar to aroideous plants. The Fijians prefer eating the cooked Taro when cold; Europeans as a rule like it quite hot, and, if possible, roasted. A considerable number of varieties are known, some better adapted for puddings, some for bread, or simply for boiling or baking. The outer marks of distinction chiefly rest upon the different tinge observable in the corm, leaf, stalks, and ribs of the leaves - white, yellowish, purple."
Linnaeus originally described two species which are now known as Colocasia esculenta and Colocasia antiquorum of the cultivated plants that are known by many names including eddoes, dasheen, taro, but many later botanists consider them all to be members of a single, very variable species, the correct name for which is Colocasia esculenta.
- "Catalogue of Life: 26th February 2018". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- Utilisation des aliments tropicaux: racines et tubercules, FAO, Rome, 1990, p. 35. ISBN 92-5-202775-0, google book.
- Purseglove, J.W. 1972. Tropical crops. Monocotyledons. Longman & John Wiley, Harlow and New York.
- R. Tumuhimbise et al (2009) Growth and development of wetland-grown taro under different plant populations and seedbed types in Uganda. African Crop Science Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2009, pp. 49-60
- Eatable: cará and inhame, column Nhac of the Paladar journal (in Portuguese)
- J. H. Maiden (1889). The useful native plants of Australia : Including Tasmania. Turner and Henderson, Sydney.
- Albert F. Hill (1939), "The Nomenclature of the Taro and its Varieties", Botanical Museum Leaflets, Harvard University, 7 (7): 113–118
- "Colocasia antiquorum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 24 April 2015.