Kalo Varieties

Which variety of kalo is the best? The one that's in the bowl on the table. - Jerry Konanui, Hawaiian Mahi‘ai

Use As Food

The lilac-purple ‘I‘o kalo (Corm) produces red poi that is highly prized.


Very popular upland, dryland taro cultivated extensively in Kona, Ka‘ū, and Puna, Hawai‘i.

General Characteristics

Medium in height, well spreading, maturing within 8 to 12 months, producing from 5 to 10 ‘ohā; characterizeded by blackish Hā (Petiole), similar to those of Kūmū ‘Ele‘ele, Lauloa ‘Ele‘ele ‘Ōma‘o, and Lauloa ‘Ele‘ele ‘Ula, and by dark purplish-lilac ‘I‘o kalo (Corm) flesh.

Ha (Petiole)

65 to 90 cm. long, blackish with inconspicuous narrow brownish to greenish edge, yellowish-green at top (apex), a dark reddish-puple ring at kōhina (base) with dark lilac-purple for 3 to 4 cm. above the base.

Lau or Lu'au(Leaf Blade)

40 to 50 cm. long, 25 to 35 cm. wide, 30 to 40 cm, from tip to base of sinus (māwae), arrow head shaped, drooping, slightly wave-like (undulate), dark green, often with pinkish cast when young; piko inconspicuous, light reddish-brown; round leaf section (lobes) acute with wide lihi māwae (sinus).

'I'o kalo (Corm)

Flesh lilac-purple with easily seen darker purple fibers; skin dark reddish-purple.

Pua (Flower)

Hā (peduncle) black; flower cover (spathe) 24 to 26 cm. long, the lower tubular portion 3.5 to 4.5 cm. long, yellowish-green tinged with brown, with purplish areas at kōhina (base) and constriction (skinny part of flower), the upper portion yellow, slightly open at maturity; spadix (spike of flower) 8 to 9 cm. long, the sterile appendage (tip of flower's spike) 6 to 7 mm. long.