Definition of tannia in English:


(also tania)


  • 1A tall Caribbean plant of the arum family, cultivated in the tropics for its edible pear-shaped tubers and large arrow-shaped leaves.

    Xanthosoma sagittifolium, family Araceae

    • ‘The best way to tell tannia and taro apart is to examine where the leaf is attached to the stem.’
    • ‘The reason for this is that taro was grown long before tannia was brought over from the New World.’
    • ‘The role of the tannia in sustainable farming systems must be carefully studied, particularly in mixed plantations.’
    1. 1.1A tuber of the tannia.
      • ‘Tannias must be packed in such a way as to protect the produce properly.’
      • ‘The tannias must have been carefully harvested and have reached an appropriate degree of physiological development, account being taken of the characteristics of the variety and/or commercial type and the area in which they are grown.’
      • ‘Surveys carried out in Puerto Rico show that the rural population prefers the tannia to the sweet potato, yam and green plantain because of its flavour and that, in the Philippines, it is preferred to the cocoyam or taro.’
    2. 1.2mass noun The leaves or tubers of the tannia eaten as food.
      • ‘It is not that the farmers from Tamazo have lost the ability to produce and sell plantains, dasheen, tania, grapefruits, mangoes, coosh-coosh and the other delectable products of the region.’
      • ‘Wash, peel and grate tannia, put into a bowl.’
      • ‘Tannia must be thoroughly cooked as some varieties contain high levels of calcium oxylate crystals in the leaves and tubers.’
      • ‘The future of the tannia, a food of exceptional value because of its organoleptic characteristics and nutritional properties, lies in a widening of export markets, the application of technology to diversify its use and the promotion of more intensive consumption in people's diets in tropical regions.’


Mid 18th century from Carib taya, Tupi taña.