Canoe Plants of Ancient Hawai`i
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`Ape - `Awa -`Awapuhi -Hau -Ipu -Kalo -Kamani -Ki -Ko -Kou -Kukui -Mai`a
Milo -Niu -Noni -`Ohe -`Ohi`a `Ai -`Olena -Olona -Pia -`Uala -Uhi -`Ulu -Wauke
Sometimes called "Elephant's Ear",`ape (pronounced ah-pay), is related to and resembles a large taro plant. In contrast to taro, whose leaves point earth-ward, the larger heart-shaped leaves of `ape tend to point upward, adding to its height. The shiny green leaves can grow up to 2-4 feet long by 2 feet wide. Some varieties have patches of white. `Ape's leaf stems may be green or a whitish color and reach up to 4 1/2 feet long. The trunk of this plant is ringed and is often 3-4 inches thick in diameter, rising as high as 4-8 feet. It is used in modern times as a landscaping plant due to its tropical appearance and ability to provide shade in a garden.`Ape thrives in a slightly moist and shady location with well composted soil.
|`Ai no i ka `ape he nane`o no ka nuku. |
He who eats `ape is bound to have his mouth itch.
He who indulges in some thing harmful will surely reap the result!
Originating in southern Asia, `ape (Alocasia macrorrhiza, Xanthosoma robustum) grows throughout the Pacific and was brought by Polynesian voyagers as roots in their canoes to Hawai`i over 1500 years ago. The plant figures in Hawaiian legends as well as in those of Rarotonga. `Ape was used as an ingredient in a dye used to color ipu/gourds.
Medicinally, the juice from freshly cut stems can be an antidote on the skin to itchy stinging plants such as ko/sugar cane and nettle. In the old days, the leaves of `ape and of ti were used to wrap a fevered person for comfort, and because it was said the bitter sap of `ape would frighten away negative spirits.
|Canoe Plants of Ancient Hawai`i|
Intro - Contents - Bibliography - Links - Credits