Also callaloo, calalú (see also amaranth), dasheen bush or bush (West Indian), luau (Hawaiian), elephant ears

As the words callaloo, luau, and elephant ears indicate, x taro leaves have an identity distinct from the starchy corm. The two parts rarely share a cooking pot, but they do have common properties—as I learned the hard way.

It is well known that chewing raw or undercooked taro delivers a sharp dose of needle-like calcium oxalate crystals (and other irritants) to the tongue and throat. Having queried the vendors who sold the leaves and perused some twenty books on the subject, I still had found little more advice than “cook like spinach”, “boil in two changes of water”, “cook until very tender”, and “add fat to take away the sting.” But years of cooking and eating the corms had made me fairly comfortable about cooking up the big leaves.