Kalo Varieties

Which variety of Kalo is the best? The one that's in the bowl on the table. - Jeremy Konanui, Hawaiian Mahiai

Lehua Maoli


Lehua Maoli: Native variety; This variety is commonly known simply as Lehua. Lehua refers to a red color similar to the red flower of the ‘ōhi‘a tree. Lehua reflects the color that the poi transforms into; the fresh poi is grey and ferments into red, after a couple days. Lehua also means warrior, beloved friend or relative, sweetheart and expert. Maoli means the more common, ordinary, indigenous, or native.


The widely advertised "Lehua red poi" which often commands a premium in price, usually comes from this variety. The lehua varieties make red poi of excellent quality.


A favorite variety of the Hawaiians, grown throughout the islands under both upland and wetland cultures. It is the most widely distributed of the upland poi taros and is planted extensively in Kona, Hawai‘i.


Medium in height, well spreading, slender, maturing within 8 to 12 months, producing from 5 to 10 ‘ohā; identified by yellowish- green, widely spreading Hā (Petiole) and light purplish-lilac ‘i‘o kalo (Corm) flesh.


65 to 80 cm. long, yellowish-green with pinkish cast, slightly tinged with brownish-purple at the top (apex), pinkish-lilac at edge, a dark reddish-purple ring at kōhina (base) with light purplish-lilac for 3 to 5 cm. above.


40 to 55 cm. long, 30 to 40 cm. wide, 35 to 45 cm. from tip to base of sinus (māwae), arrow head shaped, very smooth in outline, thin in texture, drooping, medium green, often with pinkish tinge when young; piko small, light pinkish; round leaf section (lobes) acute with narrow lihi māwae (sinus).


Flesh light purplish-lilac with darker purplish-lilac fibers; skin dark pinkish-lilac.


Hā (peduncle) pale green with pinkish flush; flower cover (spathe) 14 to 20 cm. long, the lower tubular portion 2.5 to 3 cm. long, olive green with pinkish tinge, the upper portion deep yellow, open near constriction (skinny part of flower) only upon maturity; spadix (spike of flower) 6 to 7 cm. long, the sterile appendage (tip of flower's spike) 6 to 8 mm. long.


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.

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*The # refers to CTAHR's bulletin 84 system.