Talk Story

Stories from Maui Cultural Lands ‘Ohana

Every culture around the world has its own way of sharing information. Here in the islands, we share informally by “talking story”—slowing down and taking time to explore ideas, stories, opinions and history with the people around us. We hope our Talk Story will help to inspire and connect our community!

  • Mamane

    Sophora Chrysophylla

    Sophora chrysophylla is a large shrub or medium sized tree up to 50 feet tall. The branches are golden brown with ridges running along them. Each leaf consists of 6 to 10 pairs of oval leaflets. The light green leaflets range in size from 3/8 to 2 inches long and […]

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  • Ohai

    Sesbania Tomentosa

    Sesbania tomentosa is a variable species. It is usually a low, spreading shrub with horizontal or arching branches; it is can also have a treelike habit up to 15 feet tall. In the wild, a single plant can cover a large area, but in cultivation it will tend to be […]

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  • Naupaka

    Scaevola coriacea

    Ten species of naupaka (Scaevola spp.) are native to the Hawaiian Islands in the Goodenia family or Goodeniaceae. The genus name comes from the Greek, scaevus, meaning left-handed or awkward, perhaps referring to the signature half-flowers resembling an open fan or hand. The feature species is one of two native […]

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  • Iliahialoe

    Santalum ellipticum

    This Sandalwood is endemic to Hawaii and found throughout the state. Grows to a height of 30 feet and can get 10 feet in width. Fragrant flowers and fragrant heart wood is what this tree was prized for. This type of Sandalwood grows from sea level to an elevation of […]

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  • Alahe’e

    Psydrax Odorata

    Psydrax odorata, known as Alaheʻe in Hawaiian, is indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands and found in habitats that vary such as shrubland to dry, mesic and wet forests from about 30 to over 3,800 feet. Belonging to the Coffee family (Rubiaceae), alaheʻe is locally renown for its wonderfully fragrant flowers […]

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  • Loulu

    Pritchardia spp.

    Pritchardia are single trunked palm trees with fan-shaped leaves. The Hawaiian Pritchardia are generally medium to large sized palms growing from 25 to 60 feet tall. The color and hairiness of the leaves, the length of the flowering stems, and the size and color of the fruit vary by species. […]

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  • Ohe makai

    Polyscias Sandwicensis

    ʻOhe makai belongs to the Ginseng family (Araliaceae), which also includes other native trees such as ʻōlapa (Cheirodendron spp.), munroidendron or pōkalakala, and ʻohe mauka. The non-native and invasive octopus tree or heʻe (Schefflera actinophylla) is also in this same family. The former generic name Reynoldsia is named on behalf […]

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  • Halapepe

    Plemele Auwahiensis

    The generic name Pleomele is derived from the Greek pleon, many, and melon, apple, in reference to the large inflorescence that produce many fruits. The specific epithet auwahiensis refers to Auwahi, Maui, a remnant native dry forest set aside to preserve native flora of Maui. This hala pepe is among […]

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  • Hoawa

    Pittosporum hosmeri

    Hoawa in Hawaiian, Pittosporum hosmeri, is part of a family that has about 150 species of Pittosporum throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and on a number of Pacific Islands, including the Hawaiian Islands with eleven endemic species. The generic name Pittosporum is derived from the Greek pittos, pitch, and […]

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  • Lauae fern

    Phymatosorus grossus

    Phylmatosorus grossus, known as Lauae fern in Hawaiians, is from old world tropics with scattered, erect, usually lobed fronds up to three feet high, arising from black-scaly, creeping horizontal stems at the soil surface, or epiphytic on other plants. The leaves commonly emit an odor reminiscent of vanilla and are […]

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  • Hala

    Pandanus tectorius

    Hala are indigenous to Hawaii ranging as far as Australia. Fossil records show that they arrived here well before the first humans. The list of uses from this tree is extensive; the root made a dye, the leaves were woven into clothing, the fruits were cooked and eaten, and the […]

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  • U’ulei

    Osteomeles Anthyllidifolia

    ʻŪlei belong to the very large Rose family (Rosaceae) of nearly 3,000 species.Though ʻūlei is indigenous, there are three other endemic members: Hawaiian strawberry or ʻōhelo papa (Fragaria chiloensis subsp. sandwicensis), and two species Hawaiian raspberries or ʻākala (Rubus hawaiensis & R. macraei). All have edible fruit, but range from […]

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  • Naio

    Myoporum Sandwicense

    Myoporum sandwicensis, known as Naio in Hawaiian, is a family comprising 4 genera and about 220 species from Australia, eastern Asia, and Pacific islands, with one monotypic genus Bonita L. in the west Indies and northern South America. The wood has a fragrance like honey and was confused with sandalwood. […]

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  • Mai`a – Banana

    Musa Acuminata

    Musa acuminata/ Musa sapientum, known as Mai`a in Hawaiian, usually grows in moist areas that are either wind protected, planted around dwellings, or on well-watered banks of taro lo`i. It can grow on median forest belts from an altitude of 1500 to 3000 ft. and on lower fringes of the […]

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  • Ohia Lehua

    Metrosideros Polymorpha

    Metrosideros polymorpha is an extremely variable plant. It ranges in habit from a prostrate shrub to a 100 foot tree. Young bark is smooth and light gray and becomes rough and scaly with age. In the landscape or garden, Metrosideros polymorpha is generally no larger than 40 feet tall and […]

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