EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 07 - 2012 Num. article: 2012/154

First report of Colocasia esculenta in the wild in mainland Spain


Colocasia esculenta (Araceae) is an emergent, perennial, aquatic and semi-aquatic herbaceous species native to Asia (Myanmar, Bangladesh). It thrives in freshwater wetlands, as well as in dry lowland environments, and is usually found in tropical areas. It is consummed as a root vegetable (taro) in Africa, Asia, Oceania and tropical America and is also used as an ornamental plant. The species reproduces very easily vegetatively through corm crowns and cormels, while reproduction by seed is rare.
In some wetlands in South-East America (Florida, Texas), Hawaii and Australia, C. esculenta has exhibited invasive behavior, altering the vegetation composition, structure and dynamics. Within the EPPO region, the species is recorded as present in the wild in Islas Canárias (ES), Azores and Madeira (PT). C. esculenta was recently found in the province of Sevilla in southern Spain where it formed several monospecific patches along the Hornillo stream course and shores, growing in full sun as well as in the shade. In total, an effective area of 1600 m² was covered. The species is thought to have escaped from a garden upstream.
This record highlights the ability of this tropical species to withstand the long dry summers of the Mediterranean climate within permanent streams. Although the invasive potential of C. esculenta remains uncertain, this species could usefully be monitored.

Sources

DAISIE Database – Colocasia esculenta. http://www.europe-aliens.org/speciesFactsheet.do?speciesId=972
García-de-Lomas J, Dana ED, Ceballos G (2012) First report of an invading population of Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott in the Iberian Peninsula. BioInvasions Records 1(2), 139-143.