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

Grown mainly for home use as poi taro. Taro of Lauloa group were used by the early Hawaiians for medicinal purposes, chiefly in pulmonary disorders. They are now popular mainly as table taros and for poi.


Planted somewhat extensively in the uplands throughout the islands, particularly in Kona.

General Characteristics

Tall, erect, stocky, maturing within 9 to 12 months, producing from 2 to 5 ‘ohā; recognized by purplish.black Hā (Petiole) with pinkish edges.

Ha (Petiole)

100 to 140 cm. long, purplish-black with pinkish edge, light green at apex, a dark red ring at kōhina (base) with pink for 1 to 2 cm. above the base.

Lau or Lu'au(Leaf Blade)

40 to 60 cm. long, 30 to 40 cm. wide, 35 to 45 cm. from tip to base of sinus (māwae), arrow head shaped, slightly concave (curve inward), dark green; margins with a few large undulations, the marginal veins purple; piko small, purplish; round leaf section (lobes) obtuse with narrow lihi māwae (sinus).

'I'o kalo (Corm)

Flesh white tinged with pink, especially near the apex, with yellowish fibers; skin light to brilliant dark pink and occasionally purple along leaf-scar rings.

Pua (Flower)



This variety resembles Lauloa ‘Ele‘ele ‘Ōma‘o very closely. Although the outward appearance is almost identical, the two varieties may be differentiated by the greenish edge (‘Ōma‘o) and continuance of the Hā (Petiole) color into the leaf veins of Lauloa ‘Ele‘ele ‘Ōma‘o in contrast to the more pinkish edge and the changing of the dark Hā (Petiole) color to a yellow green just below the apex of Lauloa ‘Ele‘ele ‘Ula. This variety's name refers to the traits it shares with both the Lauloa and ‘Ele‘ele families. Some plant characteristics, such as leaf size and shape, are very similar to the Lauloa. This variety has developed into mutations. The corm's (‘i‘o kalo) texture and quality of poi it are more closely related to the ‘Ele‘ele group.