Introduced to Hawai'i
Ancestors of the Hawaiian People
by Dr. Harold St.
and Kuaika Jendrusch
Drawing Below: Ipu
(Gourd Plant), drawn by Melanie Lessett
Plants are arranged
in botanical order from least evolved to most evolved. Further
research might indicate that additional species were brought. Each
entry includes the Hawaiian name of the plant, the common English
name (if there is one), and the scientific name, followed by the
place of origin of the plant, the method of growing it, and its
uses. For more information about and illustrations of these plants,
24 Canoe Plants of Ancient Hawai'i.
1. Ko (Sugar Cane;
Saccharum officinarum): India; Upper-stalk cutting; Food, Medicine,
2. 'Ohe (Bamboo;
Schizostachym glaucifolium): Pacific Islands; Root; Knives, Kapa
3. Niu (Coconut Palm;
Cocos nucifera): South Pacific?; Sprouted coconut; Food, Cordage,
4. 'Ape (---; Alocasia
macrorrhiza): Tropical Asia and Oceania; Tuber; Food in times of
5. Kalo (Taro;
Colocasia antiquorum): Tropical Asia; Tuber; Main food plant:
Hawaiian-Polynesian "Staff of Life"
6. Ki (Ti Plant;
Cordyline terminalis): Tropical Asia and Australia; Stem cuttings;
Food, Medicine, etc.
7. Pia (Polynesian
Arrowroot; Tacca Leontopetaloides): Malay Archipelago; Tuber; Food,
8. Uhi (Yam; Dioscorea
alata): Asia; Tuber; Food—most important kind of yam
9. Hoi (Biner Yam;
Dioscorea bulbifera): Tropical Asia; Tuber; Food during famine
10. Pi'a (Five-Leafed
Yam; Dioscorea pentaphylla): Tropical Asia, Pacific; Tuber; Food
during famine. etc.
11. Mai'a (Banana;
Musa paradisiaca): Cultigen (Obscure Origin); Suckers; Food and its
12. 'Olena (Tumeric;
Curcuma domestica): Tropical Asia; Root; Dye, Purification. etc.
13. 'Awapuhi (Wild
Ginger; Zingiber Zerumbet): India; Root; Scenting, Medicine, etc.
14. 'Awa (Kava; Piper
methysticum): Pacific Islands; Sprouting stem; Relaxing beverage,
15. 'Ulu (Breadfruit;
Artocarpus altilis): Pacific Islands, probably Guam; Root sprouts
(dig up small plants growing from large tree. Leave 6 inches of root
or more on each side); Food, Craft, etc.
16. Wauke (Paper
Mulberry; Broussonetia papyrifera): East Asia; Root sprouts (follow
same procedure as above); To make kapa and clothing
17. Pa'ihi (---;
Nasturtium sarmentosum): Polynesia; Transplant small plant; Food,
18. Auhuhu (Fish
Poison Plant; Tephrosia purpurea): Tropical South Asia and Pacific;
Seed; Fish poison, etc.
19. Kukui (Candlenut
Tree; Aleurites moluccana): Asia, Pacific Islands; Seed or seedling
transplant; Lighting, Food, Craft. etc.
20. Hau (Hibiscus;
Hibiscus tiliaceus): Tropical Pacific and Old World; Stem cutting;
To make fire, canoes, medicine, fertilizer, etc.
21. Milo (PortiaTree;
Thespesiapopulnea): Coasts of Eastern Tropics; Seed; To make
(Alexandrian Laurel; Calophyllum Inophyllum): Tropical Asia and
Pacific; Seed; Calabashes, Leis, etc.
23. 'Ohi'a 'Ai
(Mountain Apple; Eugenia malaccensis): Tropical Asia, Oceania; Seed
or seedling transplant; Food, Craft. etc.
24. 'Uala (Sweet
Potato; Ipomoea Batatas): Tropical America; Slips or stem cuttings;
Food: vegetable from leaves, starch from tubers
25. Kou (---; Cordia
subcordata): Africa to Polynesia; Seed; Best wood for calabashes
26. Noni (Indian
Mulberry; Morinda citrifolia): Asia, Australia, and Pacific Islands;
Root sprout, Seed; Medicine, etc.
27. Ipu (Bottle Gourd;
Lagenaria siceraria): Tropical Asia or Africa; Seed; Containers for
food storage, musical instruments, etc.