ʻAhakea lau nui Rubiaceae
Hawaiian endemic genus Kalauao Trail, Koʻolau Mts., Oʻahu Two indigenous ephiphytes on the tree: ʻēkaha (Asplenium nidus
), flat-stemmed whiskfern or moa nahele (Psilotum complanatum
) are in this tree. (See www.flickr.com/photos/50823119@N08/4743751500/in/photostr...
) Early Hawaiians had many uses for ʻahakea. It was used for canoe (waʻa) construction, the hard yellowish or reddish wood of ʻahakea was the most favorite wood for making gunwales strakes (moʻo), the forward end piece (lāʻau ihu), and the aft piece (lāʻau hope). Canoe paddles were also made from ʻahakea wood. It was also the preferred to frame hale (house) doorways and door frames (lapauila) because the reddish or yellowish colored wood was a chiefly color. Poi boards (papa kuʻi poi) were made from ʻahakea because its close grained wood. ʻAhakea, mixed with kukui nuts, was also used medicinally to help with abseces, burst sores (ʻili pūhō); scar, perhaps tuberculosis; (ʻalaʻala); and itch, ulcer (meʻeau). The bark and leaves were boiled and used to bathe in. Medicinally, moa (Psilotum
spp.) was used byt he early Hawaiians for kūkae paʻa (constipation) in newborn babies and elderly men and women. It was also mixed with other plants to treat akepau (tuberculosis, consumption), and various respiratory conditions. Additionally, extracts from moa were used as laxatives. The spores were used for diarrhea in infants and used like talcum powder to prevent chafing from loincloths. Moa was also used in lei making by early Hawaiians. Early Hawaiian children would play a simple game of moa nahele (lit., chicken vegetation). Plants in Hawaiian Culture explains how this game was played: “Two children sat or stood facing one another, each holding a branched stem of moa. These they interlocked and then slowly pulled apart until the branches of one broke. The other child, without broken branches, was the winner and announced his victory by crowing like a rooster (moa).” One of the names ʻoʻō moa in fact means "cock's crow." nativeplants.hawaii.edu/plant/view/Bobea_elatior