Native Hawaiian Plants with Cultural Significance at City Mill


Honolulu (KHON2) –  You can purchase and learn more about Native Hawaiian plants that are rare and endangered at City Mill.

It’s part of a new program for the eight locations. Living808 visited the Nimitz location and met up with Rick Barboza and Kelvin McKeague of Ku Maoli Ola Nursery to learn more about some of the endangered plants and their cultural significance.

Featured plants include:

1. Na’u- This extremely rare plant is one of the many native Hawaiian plants on the federal list of endangered species. In the wild, there’s only one plant remaining on O’ahu and a handful on Lana’i. Since this plant is endemic, that means there’s only 10 left in the entire world ! The yellow-orange pulp within the seed capsule was highly valued for making a rich yellow dye for Ali’i. The beautifully light colored wood was also used for making sturdy house posts.

2. Maile- This specific Maile is an endemic plant, only found here in Hawaii. Now days most of the “maile” lei that we are familiar with are from the Cooke Islands. Since maile is slow growing, it’s not as abundant today as it once was.

3. Ihiihilauakea- Another endemic and endangered plant in Hawaii.This clover looking plant is actually a petite fern that sprawls across the ground with tendrils. At night the fronds fold up, and open upon sunrise. This plant shares the same name of the crater on the western end of Hanauma Bay, in which the fern is found. It also shares the name of an Ali’I wahine from Waimanalo who lived near the crater and was proficient in fishing and surfing.

4. Maohauhele- Bright yellow endemic hibiscus flower that is the state flower. The name of this plant translated to “traveling green hau”. Its probable this name came from its growing cycle. At 3-5 years it becomes too top heavy, leans over and sprouts new roots. Sometimes this plant can travel quite some distance in this fashion!

5. Delissea- There are fewer than 20 known plants left in the wild and they’re all located in the remote forests of Kaua’i. This plant has curved tubular flowers that mimic the shape of native bird’ beaks, so they can easily drink the nectar while collecting pollen. Because majority of the native birds are endangered or extinct, it affects this plant exponentially

Endangered Native Hawaiian plants have red tags on them at City Mill.

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