Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Society & Culture
  3. Ethnic Cultures

Hawaiian culture for kids—May 2010 edition: Taro fun facts

Taro ponds beside the Hanalei River on the island of Kaua'i.

More Photos

Most people think that taro grows only in Hawai‘i or the South Pacific. Did you know that taro grows in at least 65 countries around the world? Islands of the Caribbean, Hawai‘i, Africa, and the United States, are just some of the places taro is grown. Did you know that Homestead, Florida grows more taro than Hawai‘i?

  What is taro?

Taro is a starchy plant, or carbohydrate, that gives us energy, like potatoes or rice. There are two basic kinds: wetland and dry land taro. Wetland taro grows in shallow ponds, or flooded terraces, called lo‘i (lo-ee) in Hawai'i. Dry land taro grows in soil but still needs lots of water. Both kinds prefer warm climates. Taro is usually grown by small businesses and families. Children often help with planting the huli, or plant cuttings, and with weeding.

 What does taro look like?

Most taro plants stand about waist-high to a second-grader. The leaves look like small green elephant ears. When the soft trade winds blow, the leaves wiggle like a thousand little elephants shaking their heads. The root, or corm, of the plant is about the size of a grapefruit and is very nutritious. That means it’s good for you and has lots of vitamins to keep you healthy.
What does it taste like?
All parts of the taro plant can be eaten, including the leaves. They taste a lot like spinach. Do you like spinach? The purple corm has to be cooked until it is soft. The cooking water has to be changed several times; otherwise, your throat will get itchy. When peeled and sliced, it tastes like a mild sweet potato. In Hawai‘i, it is often mashed into a purple paste called poi. Have you tasted poi? You could if you went to a Hawaiian feast, called a luau. Poi goes nicely with fish, pork, and vegetable dishes. Some people love poi and others think it tastes like paste. Kids sometimes mix sugar in their poi. Does that sound good? Babies and older folks eat poi because it is easy to digest.
Why not look for taro in a specialty grocery store near you and try it? Then you will be like kids in other lands who love their favorite starch—taro.
Taro fun quiz
Do you remember?
1) Where is taro found?
a) Everywhere b) in many countries c) at the 7-11
2) What is a corm?
a) A new name for corn b) the root of the taro plant c) something that grows on your toes
3) What do the leaves of the taro plant look like?
a) Diamonds b) footballs c) elephant ears
4) What is another name for a starch?
a) Chocolate b) carbohydrate c) jelly
5)What are the two basic kinds of taro?
a) Sugary and sweet b) skinny and tall c) wetland and dry land
6) How big is a taro corm?
a) As big as a basketball b) a peanut c) a grapefruit
7) What does cooked taro taste like?
a) Potato chips b) ice cream c) sweet potato
8) Why is poi good for babies?
a) They think it is milk b) it’s purple c) it’s easy to digest


Add a comment

Join the conversation! Log in here or create a new account if you've never registered before.

Got something to say? is looking for writers, photographers, and videographers to join the fastest growing group of local insiders. If you are interested in growing your online rep apply to be an Examiner today!



  • Dead babies found
    Seven dead babies were found in Utah resident Megan Huntsman's old home
    Shocking Discovery
  • Kendall Jenner
    Get the Coachella looks: Kendall Jenner’s nose ring, green hair and edgy nails
    Coachella Look
  • Dog's Easter basket
    How to fill your dog’s Easter basket with the perfect toys
    Easter Basket
  • Rabbit owners
    Bringing home the bunny: Important information for rabbit owners
    7 Photos
  • Haunted island
    The world’s most haunted island may soon be the most haunted luxury resort
    Haunted Resort
  • Sunken ferry
    Search continues for missing passengers after a ferry sinks off the South Korean coast
    Sunken Ferry

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!