Introduction to The British Gardener's website

Polynesian Canoe Plants in Hawaii

The first Polynesian navigators arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in canoes laden with plants intended to sustain and nourish the first island settlers.  It is believed that cuttings, seeds, fruit and roots were stowed during their journey and used to cultivate many of the plants we see on Hawaii today.

Canoe Plants were considered sacred and most useful to the ancient peoples. There was noni for medicine, kukui for light, kamani for wood. Food plants included hearty ‘uala or sweet potato, sugarcane, breadfruit, and the most important of them all, kalo or taro. These plants were important to Polynesians to build a new nation and all of life's vital needs.

Canoe Plants were an important part of the ancient settlers cultural heritage that they are often believed to be indigenous species. The exact number of Canoes species is unknown, however twenty-four species are fairly universally agreed upon.

Below is a list of these plants with links to learn more about them and where you can find them around the resort.  Due to our lowland, coastal conditions, not all can be grown around our property.

Aleurites moluccana  - Kukui    (Candlenut) - Lighting, Food, Craft
Alocasia macrorrhiza`Ape    (Elephant's ear) - Food in times of famine
Artocarpus altilis`Ulu    (Breadfruit) - Food, Craft, etc
Broussonetia papyrifera - Wauke    (Paper mulberry) - Make kapa and clothing
Cocos nucifera - Niu    (Coconut) - Food, Cordage, construction 
Calophyllum inophyllum - Kamani    (Alexandrian laurel) - Utensils, Leis
Colocasia esculenta - Kalo    (taro) - Main food plant
Cordia subcordata – Kou    (Beach cordia) - Construction, fuel and Food in times of famine
Cordyline fruticosaKi    (Ti Plant) - Food, Medicine, etc.
Curcuma domestica or longa - `Olena (turmeric) - Purification, etc
Dioscorea alata - Uhi    (yam) - Food, most important kind of yam
Hibiscus tiliaceusHau    (Hibiscus- To make fire, canoes, medicine, fertilizer, etc
Ipomoea batatas - `Uala    (sweet potato) - Food: vegetable from leaves, starch from tubers
Lageneria siceraria and vulgaris - Ipu (Gourd) - Containers for food storage, musical instruments, etc
Morinda citrifolia - Noni    (Indian Mulberry) - Medicine, etc
Musa paradisiaca - Mai`a    (Banana) - Food and its preparation
Pandanus tectoriusHala     - Construction, weaving etc.
Piper methysticum`Awa (Kava) - Relaxing beverage, etc
Saccharum officinarumKo (Sugar cane) - Food, Medicine, Religion, etc.
Schizostachyum glaucifolium - 'Ohe    (Bamboo) Knives, Kapa stamps, etc.
Syzygium malaccense - `Ohi`a `Ai    (Mountain Apple)Food, Craft, etc
Tacca leontopetaloides - Pia (Polynesian arrowroot) - Food, Medicine, etc.
Thespesia populneaMilo   (Portia Tree) - Utensils
Zingiber zerumbet - `Awapuhi Kuahiwi    (Shampoo Ginger) - Scenting, Medicine, etc

Click on these links for further information;