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Hula Plant Photo of the Day: Pa‘iniu

April 20, 2014

Aloha, and Happy Easter Sunday! Today is the first day of the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long hula competition that celebrates its 51st year of bringing the best hālau hula (hula dance troupes) from around the world to compete and share their talents on stage at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Tennis Stadium in Hilo. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will blog a hula plant of the day throughout the festival, and when possible, include where in the park you can observe these beautiful, native flora. These hula plants were selected after participating  in a recent “Nā Mea Kanu O Ka Hula” (Plants of Hula) Institute with the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, led by Kumu Hula Ab Kawainohoikala‘i Valencia of Hālau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu. Mahalo Ab for selflessly sharing your mana‘o with us!

It is also National Park Week April 19-27, and we invite you to “Go Wild for Culture” at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park! Admission is free this weekend (April 19-20).



The endemic lily, or pa‘iniu, shown flowering. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Today’s Plant is Pa‘iniu. The pa‘iniu (Astelia menziesiana) is one of few endemic lilies of Hawai‘i, and is used as nā wehiwehi hula, or as a hula adornment. Hula practitioners weave its silvery leaves into lei haku – a braided style of lei using several different plant materials, or lei wili, the winding style of lei. These lei can be worn around the head as lei po‘o, or around the neck as lei ‘ā‘ī .

Pa‘iniu can be observed in the forests surrounding the rim of Kīlauea. The pa‘iniu in this photo is thriving was rescued from a thicket of invasive Himalayan ginger by the park’s Stewardship at the Summit volunteers. Please remember: take only photographs and memories, and leave only footprints when you visit your national parks!

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