Kukui

The kukui is a native plant to Polynesia and southern Asia. The kukui has a scientific name which is Aleurites moluccana. It was most likely introduced by the ancient Polynesians and is now a common tree in Hawai‘i. The early Hawaiians obtained kapa cloth dyes from the roots and green seed covering. The oil of the seed was used as a candle; a longer lasting candle was obtained by stringing several kernels on the stem of the coconut leaf. Oil extracted from the seeds was used in lamps and as a drying oil. The fresh seed is a body cleanser, and it creates a relish when used in small amounts. The tree's products played an important part in the daily lives of the Hawaiians, the kukui has been designated the state tree of Hawai‘i.

The story behind the kukui is Moloka‘i was the great religious training center of old Hawai‘i. Lanikaula was the most powerful and famous prophet of his time. His impending death was announced by a great bonfire on Lana‘i and constant drumming throughout the archipelago. Kahunas gathered on every island and set sail for Moloka‘i to possess his great mana by stealing his body. Lanikaula asked his three sons where they would hide his body. The hiapo, a great hunter, promised to take his remains to the highest mountain and bury it deep in a secret cave. The second son, a great fisherman, would take it to the depths of the ocean and hide it in an underground cavern. The youngest īhepa son wanted to bury Lanikaula in a point on the east end of Moloka‘i. He was given this remarkable task. When the news of Lanikaula's death was confirmed, the hordes swept over the island in search of his remains. They never found Lanikaula. It is said that his body and spirit went into the kukui trees where it overlooks and protects his land and his people. This is why the kukui nut trees in the grove of Lanikaula bleed.

‘Ōlelo No‘eau

He kui ka pua kukui na ka makani.

The kukui blossoms are a sign of wind. When the kukui sheds its blossoms it's a sign of wind.

Soloman 6:11

I went down to the grove of nut trees to look at the new growth in the valley, to see if the vines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom.

 

 


This is a picture of the kukui tree. Notice the kukui nuts, which had multiple uses in the Hawaiian culture. This picture is taken from the Kauila Team photo gallery.


This is a close up picture of the kukui blossom. This picture is taken from the Kauila Team photo gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

"BibleGateway.Com: a Searchable Online Bible in Over 50 Versions and 35 Languages." BibleGateway.Com Getting the Word Out. 8 Feb. 2007 <www.biblegateway.com>.
Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983.
"Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo Hilo Hawaii." 23/1/2006. 8/2/2006. <www.hilozoo.com>
"Kaulana Molokai." Kaulana. 25 Jan. 2007 <http://huapala.org/Kau/Kaulana_Molokai.html>.