Elephant ear in bloom
The bloom of an elephant ear is technically called a spate. Botanically, a spate is a bract, or modified leaf, enclosing a spadix, a fleshy spike of tiny flowers.

The elephant ears along my fence were a gift from Hurricane Katrina. 

 

They weren't there before the storm, but since then they have thrived, dying back to the ground every winter, and emerging abundantly in the spring. 

 

I love the way raindrops twinkle on the broad leaves. I'm fascinated by the rare, sexy blooms; did Georgia O'Keefe ever paint elephant ears? I love that they thrive in the shade of my big live oak. 

 

Elephant ears, or Colocasia esculenta, are the source of taro used to make poi in Hawaii. Some in India use the leaves in curry. The plants will cause stomach upset if not properly cooked before being eaten, however.

 

Elephant ears have been listed as invasive plants in Texas and Florida. 

 

To learn more:

 

"How to Grow: Taro"

 

An overview from the National Tropical Botanical Garden 

 

University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

 

 

 

 

Elephant ear after a rain
I love going outside after a rain to see the droplets glisten on the elephant ears.