Taro vs. Elephant Ear

I have a question about Colocasia esculenta.  I know that this is the species
grown in tropical countries as a root vegetable; I believe it is also the
usual species sold in this country (United States) as an ornamental.  Now, I
have heard stories to the effect that elephant ear is poisonous; indeed, my
mother tells the story of her experience dealing with a little girl who ate
some elephant ear leaves and was poisoned, the calcium oxalate crystals
burning her mouth and throat.  However, when I was in Trinidad, W.I., I ate
meals including a sauce called callaloo, made from the taro leaf.  My question
is, is the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous a matter of
preparation/cooking, or is it a matter of cultivar?  If the cultivars
available for ornamental use in this country are poisonous, then I have no
reason to buy them, as my interest in taro is as a vegetable.  Any advice?

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