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

Not commonly used for food. Very hearty.


This variety is rare at the present time. It is a wild taro which used to grow fairly abundantly in open woodlands, with little care, but was seldom raised under cultivation.

General Characteristics

Short to medium in height, moderately spreading, maturing within 9 to 12 months, producing from 6 to 15 ‘ohā, which is a large number; distinguished by the lilac-purple flecked Hā (Petiole) which are almost lacking in green color.

Ha (Petiole)

60 to 75 cm. long, light lilac-purple flecked almost lacking in green, a dark pink ring at kōhina (base) with lighter pink for 3 to 5 cm. above the base.

Lau or Lu'au(Leaf Blade)

35 to 45 cm. long, 25 to 30 cm. wide, 25 to 35 cm. from tip to base of sinus (māwae), egg-shaped (ovate), dark green; piko purple; round leaf section (lobes) obtuse with wide lihi māhae (sinus).

'I'o kalo (Corm)

Flesh white with light pinkish tinge, especially near the top (apex); skin dark pink.

Pua (Flower)



This variety, having the smallest ‘i‘o kalo (corm) of all the taros, was used only when other food supplies failed. It could have disease or drought resistant qualities.