You know you're a Hawaiian gardener if...

Anakaleki(z9FriendswoodTX)October 21, 2004

you tell me, I'm from Texas!

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OK, I searched and got a few: can name tree kine mango's 70 degree and you stay freezing know pineapples don't grow in in trees always put on your rubbah slippahs when you go outside

    Bookmark   October 23, 2004 at 9:30PM
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Cyanea(z11 HI)

i think
Your a true-blue-hardcore-genuine Hawai'ian gardener if:
-your garden contains species that are found only in Hawai'i.
-you "Malama i ka aina" (take care of the land)
-you let "native weeds" (very common native plants that grow in domestic areas-like uhaloa and popolo) grow.
-you know to only use the name "Hawai'ian plant"(or flower) for Native and Polynesian Introduced plants -- No plumerias, no puakenikeni, no pakalana, no colorful orchids or proteas, and no Hibiscus rosa sinensis should be referred to as "Hawai'ian". Know that there are many plants with Hawai'ian names and used in modern Hawai'ian culture but have not been known to pre-European Hawai'ians.
-you have a special love for the native flora --- even though many plants are found only in Hawai'i they are the hardest plants to find.
-you garden with Aloha

    Bookmark   October 26, 2004 at 3:45AM
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... when you have a few plant labels with "da kine" on them because you don't know their names

-I take credit for that one : )

    Bookmark   October 28, 2004 at 8:00PM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

How about if you almost remove a tree because all the leaves fell off in the rainy season and you thought it was dead?

I planted this peach tree, it grew wonderfully and looked real healthy, then the rainy season came along and the tree died! I was going to take it out since it was obviously dead. Then it sprouted out all over with leaves and flowers and made tasty peaches! Imagine that! Not bad for a dead tree, eh? So far it's "died" three times and come back.

I'm not a good Hawaii gardener since I can't tell the different types of taro apart very well. Wet land, dry land, I just plant them any ol' kine place. Auwe! They still grow, though, so I guess it's okay.

Hey, Cyanea, is taro endemic and Hawaiian and all that? It wasn't here before the polynesians and tahitians came was it? Ohia lehua, hapu'u and stagfern was about it that I know of. Coconuts weren't here either. And why is a plant better if it is introduced by polynesians than if it is introduced by anybody else? I like tomatoes and squash and lettuce and such!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2004 at 12:17AM
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Cyanea(z11 HI)

Polynesian plants are not better. They are just in a category of plants that are referred to as Hawai'ian - they are not native Hawai'ian plants. I say this because there are plants that are often referred to as Hawai'ian that are not Hawai'ian. There are also many plants that are thought of to be native but are actually post-european introductions (laua'e fern, plumeria, strawberry guava, guava, etc.). We too grow exotics in our garden, my mom loves them.

Taro, and coconut palms are Hawai'ian because they were introduced and used by the Hawai'ian people. I am not wholly against the growing of introduced plants. But if you are speaking ecologically, all inroduced plants are bad. Polynesian plants are not better they are just more Hawaiian.

I have no intension of sounding rude, but there is not much that can be done to preserve the native Hawai'ian flora - something that has been in the making for millions of years and can be lost very quickly. We have to d everything we can - this does not mean we have to deprive ourselves of growing non-natives. We should just learn to be more cautious and become more knowledge able (thats what I am trying to help).

About what I posted above, I don't mean to say that your a Hawai'ian gardener only if you do those things. We all know that there are certain things that make something "Hawai'ian style"- even with no native Hawai'ian origin required.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2004 at 9:33PM
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have faith cyanea.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2004 at 4:13AM
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eieio96720(11 HI) give your fisherman friend every fruit except banana. understand why the ancients had 27 (?) different words describing rain, although you only recognize 5. give the guy down at the ocean vegetables and fruit, and he gives you fish and octopus. have seen the Hawaiian snake. (Yes there is one.) would find the farmer in Kahuku not guilty for doing the guy ripping off his farm. (Compost candidate.) are standing in your garden / field and look up to see a rainbow and almost come to tears yet you do not know why.

Much Aloha.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2004 at 4:43AM
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How about if spiders used to scare the bejeezus out of you and now, as long as they're smaller than your hand, you not only go out of your way not to smash them, but you take them outside and put them in a useful place in your garden?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 7:14AM
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Deweydave(z11 HI)

Heres's a couple more:
If you say "foilage" instead of "foliage."
If you know that haole koa is not referring to a Caucasian, or white, type of koa.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 6:56PM
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...if you can't identify your plant, it's a "noname" (pronounced no NAH mee).

...when you come across a never-before-seen species, you say "Oh yeah, my auntie get dat."

...your 'olena doesn't go dormant, it goes moemoe. think hydrangea is rare and exotic. like share!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 10:53PM
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You don't know how to prune.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 8:04PM
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if your Papaya trees have always been planted from the back end of a bird.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 2:09AM
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When local "tomato worms" are twice as big as the ones found in Texas!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 9:38PM
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Cyanea(z11 HI)

to you Theres no such thing as "young shoots". But get such ting as "keiki".

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 4:46AM
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devra(Hawaii 11)

You water your new transplants with Super "Trive"

You never bite into a fruit without checking for fruit fly larvae

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 5:51PM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Neva do no ting an get choke banana!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 5:57AM
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You know how fo' use one 'o'o.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 7:15PM
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when you know that there is no okina in the word Hawaiian

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 1:27AM
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Love it Hulagurl!

"Taro, and coconut palms are Hawai'ian because they were introduced and used by the Hawai'ian people." Using that as a qualifier, wouldn't any plant introduced and used by a Hawaiian today be considered "Hawaiian" as well?

I understand the need to protect Hawaii's endangered plants. But I think the term "Hawaiian plants" should be used for the plants that were in Hawaii prior to any people coming in and bringing plants from their home to grow in Hawaii's soil. Those are "Canoe plants" such as sugar cane, Kukui, Noni, 'Olena, 'Ulu, 'Awa, Hau, and Kalo. Taro is from Asia/Malaysia and has been historically been used as a source of food in Egypt, the Mediterranean, Africa, Polynesia, and many other places. Although ancient Hawaiians grew Colocasia and it figured into their creation myth it is not a "Hawaiian" plant any more than the apple of Christian creation myth is a "Christian" fruit.

A Hawaiian plant is a plant that existed in Hawaii long before humans arrived. Plants came to Hawai'i by three methods: Wind, Water (Ocean) and Wings (Birds).

The plants that arrived to Hawaii from somewhere else and grow elsewhere in the world are indigenous, like Coconut Palms. Historically Hawaiians did not consider it a primary food source like other Polynesians but the actual tree; fibers, trunk, leaves etc. were considered very important and sacred.

The plants that arrived to Hawaii from somewhere else and adapted; becoming something entirely unique to their new home are considered endemic. Koa (Acacia koa) and Ma'o Hau Hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei) are two examples. There are many Acacia trees related to Koa but the trees that are found on the islands are unique, and some are even unique to only one island, like Acacia koa var. waianacensis which only grows on Oahu.

The interesting thing about Koa trees is there is another very similar tree, Mascarene acacia (A. heterophylla) which is endemic to Reunion island and Mauritius island. Originally they thought Acacia Koa and Mascarene acacia were the same. Basically, the acacia has been able to spread to remote places and completely adapt to its new environment to the point of changing into a new species. Evolution (or "adaptive radiation") is amazing.

The Hawaiian palm Loulu (Pritchardia genus)are rapidly becoming extinct. The Pritchardia schattaueri only has a dozen or so left in the wild. The Brighamia insignis, or Hawaiian Palm, is also very endangered. It's very easy to grow, however, and with proper stewardship should come back easily.

Hawaii is an amazing land, with more than 763 species of invertebrates; of which 748 are endemic. The Hawaiian Honeycreeper evolved from a single N. America Finch ancestor and they developed different bills for a variety of new environments found in Hawaii such as seed cracking, nectar sipping and even a wood-pecker-esque bill.

About 90% of Hawaii's plant and animal life are found nowhere else on the world but thousands have become extinct since people first inhabited the islands 1500 years ago. There were many birds and plants that the settlers who became known as Hawaiians drove to extinction long before it was recognized as a mega-diversity hotspot. Hawaii has more endangered and threatened species than any other state in the US. The Hawaiian crow, monk seal, and nene are endangered and threatened animals and the silversword, and 'oha wai are just a few of the 263 endangered and threatened plants.

So, in my opinion, the plants that are Hawaiian are those that are endemic to Hawaii rather than those that were used by ancient Hawaiians.

Like Cyanea said, it's important to know the difference and to be careful what is introduced to Hawaii because it can unintentionally crowd out Hawaii's unique plants and animals. The fact that Hawaii has unique species is pretty neat, and devoting a section of your property to perpetuating these plants is good stewardship of the aina. Or, if you don't have the space, time, or inclination the next best thing is to avoid planting invasive species like the Brazilian peppertree, Japanese Honeysuckle, strawberry guava and remove them from your property if discovered.

Nothing wrong with lettuce, tomatoes, etc. The people who migrated from Africa and Asia, eventually becoming known as Polynesians and finally who settled Hawaii brought pigs and plants with them just as settlers from Europe in later years. Some of these were a really bad idea. Some of them worked out fine. The chickens on Kauai are a good example. Hawaiians brought Moa (wild fowl) with them and they later bred with common chickens. The wild chickens on Kauai are ancestors of these birds. Annoying? Sure, they can be. But better to have these chickens than the mongoose on the Big Island. Lettuce isn't going to go rampant if you let a head go to seed.

Here's a list of Hawaii's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants. I'm sure you will recognize many of these growing on the side of the road and nurtured in the gardens of your friends and family. Autograph trees, ginger, mock orange, butterfly bushes are all beautiful but are so prolific they crowd out other plants. Look up Miconia for an example of what can happen when an invasive pest is introduced.

All of the above is, of course, just my .02

As for the original topic, you know you're a local/Hawaiian gardener at heart when you've been gone from the islands for a few years and seek out Okinawa sweet potatoes and lemon grass in the Asian markets so you can transplant in your garden, you drive up to people's houses where the loquat and guava are rotting and ask if you can pick in return for some guava jelly later on, you collect pineapple tops from the neighbors and plant them anywhere you can find room, you find Popolo growing in someone's yard just as they're about to dig it up and throw it away and ask if you can keep it- then transplant it lovingly in a place of honor, you grow stephanotis and rosebuds and pick bougenvilla from the side of the road to make leis for all your friends, you try to grow ti and cry when it dies from the frost every year, you don't mind pulling weeds when you go over to someone's house and if people aren't careful you'll be unconsciously pulling weeds from their yard while talking to them (considered bad manners on the mainland),you go out to your yard and start yanking all the brown stuff in the winter before realizing the seasons on the mainland make stuff brown, but that doesn't mean it's dead, your Mexican neighbors have a metal o'o bar (but call it something else) and think it's strange that you're excited and want to borrow it, you find honohono grass growing in the side yard and despite years of being made by your dad to pull the darned thing from acres of land you water it because the blue flowers are pretty and it reminds you of home (plus the buggah only grows a couple feet a year so it's easy to manage), you have a strong dislike of bird of paradise but secretly go over and trim up the neighbor's bushes to make it look less scraggly cause, really, it is a pretty plant, your neighbors see you gardening in your "shower shoes" and pareu and think you're underdressed...

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:48PM
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Mahalo hula girl: yep, NO 'okina in Hawaiian. use the word liko along with keiki...

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 4:05PM
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steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)

your nickname is "tree kine mango"

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 4:45AM
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