Mānoa Heritage Center - Polynesian Introduction Garden
Authors: Margo Vitarelli and Michael B. Thomas
Locality: Hawaiian Islands

Founded in 1996 by preservationists Sam and Mary Cooke, the Mānoa Heritage Center is a non-profit organization, whose mission is to promote the thoughtful stewardship of the natural and cultural heritage of Hawai‘i. This remarkable site consists of Kūka‘ō‘ō Heiau, a Native Hawaiian garden and Kūali‘i, a Tudor-style house, built in 1911 that is presently the Cookes' private residence. The heiau and historic home are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The first settlers of Hawaiʻi arriving by canoe, brought many of their favorite plants for food, seasoning, medicine, making household items and implements to farm, build structures and use for clothing.  Taro (kalo) became the staple of the Hawaiian diet and they developed hundreds of varieties, adapted to suit diverse terrain and weather conditions.  Sweet potato (uala) was sometimes substituted for taro in the drier areas.  Tumeric (ʻolena) was used to produce a brilliant yellow orange dye for clothing, coconut (niu) for bowls, drums and roof tops, and kawa (ʻawa) to ease a painful headache were treasured supplies.

The Polynesian Introduced Garden offers an array of “Canoe Plants” representing those that may have come with ancient seafarers from the Marquesas, Tahiti, Samoa and other South Pacific archipelagoes.

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Families: 3
Genera: 3
Species: 3
Total Taxa: 3

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Polynesian introduction., Evergreen quick growing tree with a straight trunk, soft beautifully grained wood with light and dark markings, smooth, round leaves which were used for a brown dye. Pale golden orange tubular flowers borne in clusters and have no scent but make beautiful lei.
Indigenous., Yellow flowers with mahogany centers. Since it is easily dispersed by drifting in seawater and as the seeds are viable for several months, it may have arrived in Hawaii via water dispersal. Fibers were used for cordage and light wood for the spars of the outriggers of canoes. Slimy sap or juice in both the bark of branches and in the flower bud used for medicine.
Morinda citrifolia L. - Indian mulberry
Polynesian introduction., Small evergreen tree. Whitish yellow fruit used for medicine as a poultice. Bark was a source of yellow dye; mixed with burnt color gives red; mixed with sea water is said to give blue. Bladderlike air sac attached to each seed provides flotation mechanism.; Margo Vitarelli 2016-04-21 [MHC]