The Settlement of Polynesia Part I

The Settlement of Polynesia Part II

The Spirit of `Ohana and the Polynesian Voyagers

Provisions for Micronesian Voyage

Provisions for Polynesian Voyages

Traditional Foods and Preparation

Plants Introduced to Hawaii

Hawaii Proverbs

Sin at Awarua Story



 History & Culture

Plants Introduced to Hawai'i by the Ancestors of the Hawaiian People

by Dr. Harold St. John 
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, visit 24 Canoe Plants of Ancient Hawai'i.

1. Ko (Sugar Cane; Saccharum officinarum): India; Upper-stalk cutting; Food, Medicine, Religion, etc.

2. 'Ohe (Bamboo; Schizostachym glaucifolium): Pacific Islands; Root; Knives, Kapa stamps, etc.

3. Niu (Coconut Palm; Cocos nucifera): South Pacific?; Sprouted coconut; Food, Cordage, etc.

4. 'Ape (---; Alocasia macrorrhiza): Tropical Asia and Oceania; Tuber; Food in times of famine, etc.

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, Medicine, etc.

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 preparation

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, etc.

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, Medicine.

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 calabashes. etc.

22. Kamani (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.