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

Widely commercially grown for red poi. Most bags of poi in the supermarket, or served at restaurants and commercial luaus contain this variety. It is best to ku'i Maui Lehua hot because of the pu'u (bumps) that develop as the taro cools. The ulika (gumminess) factor decreases as it cools. It is good as pa'i'ai. As a table taro the small 'I'o kalo are moist, chewy and sweet. The larger 'I'o kalo can be dry and starchy.


It is the most commercially grown taro throughout Hawaii, often raised in lo'i (the wetlands). It is popular because it grows fast, 8 months to a year. It is a hearty yielder, it monocrops well with consistent large size.

General Characteristics

Tall, erect, with the potential to grow 8 feet tall, maturing within 9 to 12 months. Typically grows taller with larger corms than its parent Lehua Moali. Produces from 2 to 5 oha.

Ha (Petiole)

The ha that can grow up to 8 feet in the right conditions. The ha is light green, thinly red at lihi (edge), slightly tinged with reddish-purple at the apex. A dark reddish-purple ring at kohina (base) that moves to pinkish white for 3 to 5 cm. above.

Lau or Lu'au(Leaf Blade)

45 to 50 cm. long, 30 to 35 cm. wide, 35 to 50 cm. from tip to base of sinus (mahae), arrowhead-shaped (sagittate), drooping at the ha, leaf edge is slightly wavy; piko of the luau (leaf) is mainly white, but sometimes a with a brush of purple; (lobes) acute with narrow lihi mawae (sinus).

'I'o kalo (Corm)

Flesh is chalky white with purple fibers; skin is purple to purple gray. .I.o kalo (Corm) can weigh 3 to 10 lbs. The .I.o kalo can grow to almost a foot in length and 5 inches in diameter.

Pua (Flower)



85. Maui Lehua is similar in appearance to 63. Lehua Maoli. The differences are Maui Lehua's potential for larger growth height and bigger ‘i‘o kalo (Corm). When the corm is scraped Lehua Maui shows more red, while Lehua Maoli is purple-lilac.