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

Occasionally as a table taro; in early times a purple pigment was extracted from the Hā (Petiole) and used by the Hawaiians for dyeing tapa, straw hats, etc.


Often found associated with the other ‘Ula‘ula, usually in the uplands.

General Characteristics

Medium in height to tall, moderately spreading, maturing within 8 to 10 months, producing from 5 to 10 ‘ohā; recognized by the dark reddish-purple Hā (Petiole), inconspicuously striped with lighter color, with bright reddish edges.

Ha (Petiole)

75 to 100 cm. long, dark reddish-purple shading to purplish-lilac on upper third, inconspicuously striped with lighter color, distinctly bright reddish at edge, a purple ring at kōhina (base) with narrow, bright red area for 2 to 4 cm. above the base.

Lau or Lu'au(Leaf Blade)

35 to 45 cm. long, 25 to 35 cm. wide, 25 to 35 cm. from tip to base of sinus (māwae), egg-shaped (ovate), dark glossy green with bluish cast; piko conspicuous, purple; veins bright reddish on lower surface; round leaf section (lobes) obtuse, wave-like (undulate) on margins, with narrow lihi māwae (sinus).

'I'o kalo (Corm)

Flesh white with pinkish top "apex," the fibers yellowish; skin brilliant pink, often dark purple along leaf-scar rings.

Pua (Flower)