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Common Name
Ti leaf or Good Luck Tree

Hawaiian Name
Kï or Lä'ï

Scientific Name
Cordyline terminalis

Pictures

Kaiona

Whole Plant

Leaves

Flowers

Stems



Location On Campus

 The location of the plant is at Kaiona near the main entrance to room 51 and 55. It is also found next to the steps on the ewa end of Ka'oleioku and near the back door to room 64 in Lili'uokalani.

 

Natural Habitat

  The natural habitat of the ti plant is at the edges of rain forests and in wet, and moist areas. In the old Hawaiian days, the ti was said to be found around or near taro patches, or lo'ï. Ti is found anywhere that provides the right environment. Ti has also been planted around buildings or houses to protect them from evil spirits.


Cultural Information

This plant is Polynesian introduced, which means that it was brought to Hawai‘i by Polynesian settlers. There were many medicinal uses. It was used to wrap other herbs needed to be baked or broiled. Kï was known as a resemblance of the god Lono. Hawaiians would lay the leaves of the tree on top of the structures in his heiau to show their respect to him.



Plant Description

Roots:

  • Can be eaten; large sweet and starchy
  • Fibrous roots
  • Used to make a special drink that only the ali‘i could drink

Stem:

  • Thick
  • Woody stem
  • Grows in an upward position
  • Widths vary from 5-7.5 cm

Leaves:

  • Simple leaves
  • Broad smooth leaves
  • Parallel venation
  • Range of size from 7.5 to 12.5 cm
  • Green in color
  • Used to wrap laulau, cover imu
  • Tied to the upper edge of fishing net to scare fish into staying inside
  • Tied to netting to make rain capes
  • Sandals were made with leaves to protect the feet while walking on lava
  • Lower leaves drop as plant grows

Flowers:

  • Insignificant or seldom seen indoors
  • White to purple in color

Fruit:

  • There are fruits only on the red ti plant
  • Red Berries

Life Cycle/
Reproduction:

  • The leaves will live for about 3 weeks, which is a full life cycle

Propagation/
Cultivation:

  • Stem cuttings
  • Divisions
  • Air layering
  • Tip cuttings (bottom trunk will re-grow)

Interesting Facts:

  • Very spiritual: it is believed that Lono would take the form of the ti plant and watch over the workers in the field and make sure they were safe
  • Hula dancers would were ti leaf skirts because the leaves of the plant was the symbol of the goddess Laka
  • If you were to plant the trees around your hale Lono would make sure that no evil spirits would enter your house
  • The Hawaiians would lay the leaves and stem of the plant on the structures in his heiau to show him that they appreciate him


Web Site Links

Cordyline terminalis

This website will show you many things about the green ti plant, or Cordyline terminalis. It has everything from the common and family name, to the cultivation.

 Cordyline-Ti Plant

This particular website shows most of the very scientific things about Cordyline terminalis. It has a short paragraph of the general info on this plant.

Medicine At Your Feet, Plants and Food

This list shows the many many medicinal uses for Cordyline terminalis.

The Ti Plant Called Ki

This web site shows information on how to make a rain cape out of Ti leaves and a net made with coconut husk woven into rope. This site also has a lot of cultural information and how the Hawaiians used the Ti leaves.

 

References

Hudson, Loring G. Plants of the Kamehameha Schools Hawaiian Garden. Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools, 1939.

 Krauss, Beatrice H. Plants In Hawaiian Culture Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993.

 Lucas, Lois Plants In Hawaiian Culture Honolulu: Bess Press, 1982.

 Merlin, Mark D. Hawaiian Forest Plants. Honolulu: The Oriental Publishing Co.; ND

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