Taro [Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott] production in Japan: Present state, problems and prospects

Tetsuo MIKAMI, Sakio TSUTSUI

Abstract


Taro [Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott], a member of the family Araceae, is a vegetatively propagated crop with edible tubers (corms and cormels), petioles and leaf blades. Available evidence suggests that taro originated in South Central Asia, probably in the tropical region from India to Indonesia. The crop is considered to have reached Japan by the 10th century B. C.. In Japan, taro was a regional staple crop before the beginning of rice cultivation, but it is nowadays grown as a root vegetable. The corms and cormels of taro are an excellent source of carbohydrates and rich in essential minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber. Additionally, Japanese people have formed socio-cultural connections to the crop since olden times; taro has been served in traditional feasting and seasonal events. Despite having so much value, taro cultivation has shown declining trends in the past several decades. It should also be noted that little attention has been devoted to the genetic improvement of taro. In this review, an attempt is made to collect information about the commercial production and uses of Japanese taros as well as agronomic characteristics of leading cultivars, with the expectation that the synthesized information will aid in understanding the problems and prospects of taro cultivation in Japan.


Keywords


agronomic characteristics; breeding; corm; cormel; cultivar; early maturing genotype; taro; traditional food

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14720/aas.2019.114.2.4

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