University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
UH Seal The founding college of the University of Hawai‘i, established 1907 Site Search | Directory
Skip BreadcrumbHome >> Publications and Information Central >> Taro Varieties in Hawaii >> Taro Details


Other Names: Ahapii, Moiula, Mokohe

General Characteristics: Short, erect, stocky, maturing within 8 to 12 months, producing from 2 to 5 oha; easily distinguished by broad, crinkly blades and short, stocky, dark green petioles tinged with pink.

Petiole: 45 to 65 cm. long, fairly thick and rigid, dark green with pinkish tinge and conspicuous narrow red edge, a reddish-purple ring at base with lilac-pink for 3 to 4 cm. above.

Leaf blade: 45 to 55 cm. long, 30 to 35 cm. wide, 40 to 45 cm. from tip to base of sinus, horizontal, ovate, slightly cupped, crinkled, dark green with light pinkish cast on lower surface; piko small, light pinkish to greenish; marginal veins often tinged with red; lobes obtuse with shallow, wide sinus.

Corm: Flesh lilac-purple with darker purple fibers; skin brilliant reddish-purple.

Inflorescence: Peduncle yellowish-green; spathe 26 to 33 cm. long, the lower tubular portion usually 4.5 to 6 cm. or sometimes as much as 9 cm. long, yellowish-green, often tinged with red, the upper portion yellow, usually rather open or loosely rolled; spadix 9 to 12 cm. long, the sterile appendage 1.2 to 2 cm. long.

Origin, and derivation of name: Native variety; the name Piialii means "ascending from the alii," and refers to the high esteem in which it was held by the chiefs.

Distribution: Essentially a wetland taro although grown to some extent under upland culture in Kona, where it goes under the name Moiula This variety is one of the most important of the wetland poi taros, and is planted extensively on the windward side of Oahu.

Use: Makes a red poi that is highly prized for flavor and quality.

Remarks: This is one of the oldest varieties grown in the islands, known in the early days of Hawaiian history as one of the royal taros. It was considered particularly desirable as an offering to the gods. The Chinese generally harvest this taro at 12 to 14 months, the Hawaiian growers at 8 to 10 months when the quality is considered better although the total yield is not so great.

If you require information in an alternative format, please contact us at: