I have these plants in my pond waterfall, and I wondered if they might be edible. So I investigated, and discovered that they are! They are called elephant ear, or taro, and the tubers are edible when cooked. Millions of people eat these!
So I had too many in my waterfall, and it was sucking the water out of the pond because it has been so freaking hot lately, so I pulled one out, and cut off the leaves, and cleaned off the tuber, cooked it like a potato, peeled it and took a bite.
It tasted to me like a cross between cucumber and celery. Pretty good, actually. I was feeling encouraged -- I had a ton of this really tasty stuff, just growing in my waterfall. Amazing!
And that's when it all went wrong.
I was just swallowing this tasty treat when my mouth felt like a thousand mosquitoes with fire stingers had attacked the inside of my throat. I dropped the piece in my hand and rushed to the mirror -- my throat was beet red and swollen, 30 seconds after eating one tiny bite.
Short story is that I'm fairly allergic to this particular plant. I took Benadryl for days while this little bite ran its way through my system, and I was kicking myself the whole time.
I seriously could have died. And other than sneezing at pollen, I've never had any kind of allergy, to food or otherwise. Needless to say, I've been giving away plants on Freecycle again.
The really stupid part is that I know better. I know how to test for allergy, how to acclimatize myself to new foods. I thought that because I've never been allergic to any food that I didn't have to follow those rules.
In other news, I planted one of my blueberry bushes. It doesn't like the heat, but it seems to be still kicking. Just like me.