Kalo Varieties

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

Mana ‘Ōpelu


Mana ‘Ōpelu: Native variety; named after the fish, ‘ōpelu, because the Hawaiians used the ‘i‘o kalo (Corm) as bait for ‘ōpelu fish. Cooked and smashed into bits, the bait was placed above the large net in a pouch, and ten released. After the ‘ōpelu congregated around the bait, the net was hoisted to the surface. Leaf shape could also resemble the ‘ōpelu fish. Mana means to branch, and how two hā will branch from the same corm.


Sparingly as a table taro. The taro has excellent quality as table taro. The Mana and the Lauloa taros are used in preference to all others for making the Hawaiian pudding kūlolo, a combination of grated taro and coconut milk.


Planted in a few scattered localities on Hawai‘i and Maui, nearly always under upland, dryland culture (māla).


Medium in height, erect, moderately stocky, maturing within 7 to 12 months, producing two or three branches; distinguished by the yellow ‘i‘o kalo (Corm) flesh and heavy reddish-brown flecking on the lower portion of the hā (Petiole).


60 to 90 cm. long, pale green prominently flecked with reddish- brown to purplish on the lower portion, with fairly distinct broad pinkish edge, pale pink at kōhina (base) with a white ring.


20 to 50 cm, long, 20 to 30 cm. wide, 20 to 40 cm. from tip to base of sinus, arrow shaped head, chartaceous (paper like), dark green or with bluish cast; piko yellowish to reddish; round leaf section (lobes) acute with deep lihi māwae (sinus).


Flesh yellow with yellowish fibers; skin cream-colored, occasionally purple along leaf-scar rings.



According to Hawaiian fishing practitioners, the fish bait was prepared by cooking and pounding the taro until it could be broken in small pieces. The pounded taro was placed in a small net beg and lowered into the water directly above a large net, previously laid. The taro was released from the bag by a sudden jerk of a cord, and as soon as the school of ‘ōpelu was within the large net, the net was hoisted to the surface.

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