Kalo Varieties

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

Piko Lehua Apei


Piko Lehua Apei: Native variety generally known as Lehua Apei because the word lehua refers to the purplish color of the ‘i‘o kalo (corm) flesh. Lehua also refers to the red color that the poi turns into after the 3rd or 4th day. This variety is a member of the Piko family of kalo because the top wings of the leaf split like a V down to the piko (stem). Lehua can mean warrior, beloved, sweetheart, expert. Definition of apei is unclear.


Popular for red poi, some of the so-called Lehua red poi are being made from this variety, especially on Oahu; the leaves are good for lū ‘au. Taro of this family are common grown in lo‘i (wetland), and are very tough with a resistance to root rot. Goup piko are known to make good poi.


Found occasionally in lo‘i (wetland patches) with other varieties like Piko Kea and Piko ‘Uli‘uli.


Medium in height, erect, moderately stocky, maturing within 9 to 12 months, producing from 5 to 10 ‘ohā; distinguished from other Piko varieties by leaves' outgrowths of dark green crinkled tissue on lower surface of Lau or lū ‘au (Leaf blade).


60 to 95 cm. long, yellowish green with faint pinkish cast, usually faintly red at edge, a pink ring at kōhina (base) with pale pink for 3 to 4 cm above.


40 to 60 cm. long, 25 to 35 cm. wide, 25 to 40 cm. from tip to base of sinus (māwae), arrow head shaped, tapering to a sharp point, concave (curve inward), firm-chartaceous (paper like), dark green with pinkish cast when young; margins decidedly wave-like (undulate): round leaf section (lobes) acute with outgrowths of dark green crinkled tissues on lower surface, the lihi māwae (sinus) is deep and wide.


the flesh is lilac-purple with light purple fibers; skin pink.



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