Elephant's Ear

Also known as:
Spoon Lily
Family:
Araceae
Origin:
Asia, Oceania

General description

Perennial herb < 2 m tall. Stems and rhizomes are thick and fleshy. Leaves are large, < 75 x 50 cm and arrow-shaped. Flowers are small, cream and borne on stalks surrounded by a pale green sheath in summer – autumn. Fruit is fleshy, red/orange, < 1 cm in diameter and ripens in spring.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment, from 1 September 2022:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell elephant's ear within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant elephant's ear within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any elephant's ear on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Damp habitats, wetlands, riparian margins, disturbed forest, pasture.

Seeds possibly dispersed by birds and water. Vegetative spread from tuber fragments. Human mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste.

Forms dense stands, displacing native plants and invading pasture. Poisonous. Contact with the plant can cause skin and eye irritation.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Rhizomes and tubers, and seeds if practical

Disposal options: Small amounts can be rotted in a covered water barrel or remove to greenwaste or landfill

Biocontrol

Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
For small infestations on terrestrial sites:
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel
For small infestations on aquatic sites:
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with double strength glyphosate gel

Basic Growsafe certified
For medium infestations on terrestrial sites:
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water
For medium infestations on aquatic sites:
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 250ml glyphosate green per 1 L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
For large infestations on terrestrial sites:
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron per 1 L of water
For large infestations on aquatic sites:
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 250ml glyphosate green per 1 L of water

Safety notes

Contact with the plant can cause skin and eye irritation.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

arum lily
Zantedeschia aethiopica

arum lily leaves are narrower and more pointed. Flowers are more enclosed.

Italian arum
Arum italicum

Italian arum leaves are narrower and more pointed. It has creamy colouring on main leaf veins

giant arrowhead
Sagittaria montevidensis

Giant arrowhead is less common. It is a much smaller plant with smaller leaves. It lacks a distinctive mid vein. It doesn't contain a milky sap.

RPMP status


Whole region (Sustained Control)
Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
Elephant's ear - Main species image