Saturday, October 24, 2015

Taro Flowers

I've been asked if taro produces flowers. Yes, it does. But I've never been able to predict exactly what triggers the blooming. It doesn't happen the same time of the year from flowering to flowering. Nor is maturity or age of the plant the determining factor. I've had both young and old plants bloom. And not every plant pushes blooms when the others around it are flowering. I've kept note of which plants were propagated from the central huli and which from the side corms. That gave no consistent conclusions either. 

Right now I'm seeing lots of flowers developing among the taro plants. And not just one variety, but several different ones. But to stay with the lack of predictability, many of the varieties I'm growing are not showing signs of getting ready to bloom. Go figure. 

All my taros have similar flowers......a long, narrow spike. The length varies. The color ranges from pale yellow, to peachy, to strong golden. Some of the long spikes will stay closed. Others flare open to some degree. Some varieties produce a single flower per plant. Others will make up to four to five flowers, one right after the other. 

Some flowers are fairly short, perhaps 5"-6". The one below is huge. 21 1/2" long! 

I've never seen any of the flowers naturally pollinate. No fruits or seeds produced. To date I haven't tried hand pollinating. Perhaps one day I'll try experimenting just for the fun of it.  I am assuming that taro's natural pollinator doesn't exist here in Hawaii. Just a guess though. 

The above taro variety is blooming for the first time for me. I've been growing it for four years now with no blooming. Two of the plants are producing flowers which arch back and flare open at the base to expose the stamens and pistils. 

And it appears to be a variety that will produce multiple flowers per plant. It's already pushing the next flower down the stem......
It's the pale colored hook just emerging out of the leaf stem and at the base of the current flower stem.