Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 3rd week in September - Mokihana

What's Happening in Hawaii
during the 3rd week in September:

"I kahi 'e no ke kumu mokihana, 
paoa 'e no 'one'i i ke 'ala.

Although the mokihana tree is at a distance, 
its fragrance reaches here."

Mokihana fruit is reaching peak abundance now in the rainforests of Kaua'i. Though mokihana grows only on that island, a lei made from its fruit carries the fragrance to distant places. This is the famous lei of Kaua'i, and its sweet scent lasts for years. Thus mokihana often signifies Kaua'i, or the eternal in Hawaiian songs and chants.

Mokihana and its native relatives, the alani, are members of the orange family. Noticing the botanical relationship, Hawaiians called orange trees alani when the Brotish explorer George Vancouver brought citrus to the islands in the late 18th century. The scientific name for mokihana is Pelea anisata - Pelea in honor of the volcano goddess Pele and anisata because its fragrance is reminiscent of anise. (This plant is also known by the botonical name Melicope anisata.) Dry fruit was scattered between layers of kapa as well as used in lei.  

Taken from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989


  1. Great to see this blog made public. Keep up the good work.

  2. I like the landscape views of your country. It's so much like the Philippines.

    The white bird, we have it also here. And the taro, we call it "gabi" in the Philippines.