Sri Lankan Kiriala/ Taro: Xanthosoma sagittifolium
Kiriala: Xanthosoma sagittifolium
The Xanthosoma species are plants of the tropical rain forest and, although in their natural habitat they grow under the forest canopy, under cultivation they are usually sown with full exposure to sunlight. They require well-drained soils and do not tolerate the permanent presence of water. The mean temperature for their optimum growth must exceed 20 C.
Xanthoxoma is one of domestic traditional crop. Today it has high demand and high income earning crop.
It is not a seasonal crop. Thus it can be cultivated any time under availability of water.
There are several edible varieties of taro growing in Sri Lanka, with the most popular being kiri ala and gahala. Taro is a great source of calcium and vitamins C, E and B as well as magnesium, manganese and copper. The leaves of the kolakana ala variety are also present in traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, and are packed with vitamins A and C. Amongst the many benefits of eating taro is the fact that they are a good gluten-free, low-sodium source of dietary fibre. It also helps to reduce blood pressure and cardio diseases, boost immunity, and reduce fatigue. The Omega 3 and 6 oils found in taro also slows down the skin ageing process.
A herbaceous perennial, Xanthosoma sagittifolium has a corm or main underground stem in the form of a rhizome from which swollen secondary shoots, or cormels, sprout. Several large leaves also sprout from the main stem, which are sagittate and erect with long, ribbed petioles; inflorescences sprout between the leaves in a spadix, with a white 12 to 15 cm spathe which closes at its base in the form of a spherical chamber and opens at the top into a concave lamina; the spadix is cylindrical, slightly longer than the spathe, with female flowers on the lower portion, male flowers on the upper portion and sterile flowers in the middle portion. The spadices are rarely fertile and produce few viable seeds. The growth cycle lasts from nine to 11 months: during the first six months the corms and leaves develop; in the last four months, the foliage remains stable and, when it begins to dry, the plants are ready for the cormels to be harvested.
- Sri Lankan Kiriala/ Taro: Xanthosoma sagittifolium $ 4.65/Per Kg