C25

Hawaiian Plant Research Project

'Uala

by Christine & Courtney

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Pictures colored in KidPix

Hala Paintbrush Artwork

Student Digital Pictures

Researched Information

Researched Information

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Question #1:

What is the plant's Western/Common Name & Scientific Name?

Researched Answer:

From studying the Uala, we found that it western name or common name is Sweet Potato. We also found that the scientific family name is Convolvulaceae and its scientific plant name is Ipomoea.

Question #2:

Is the plant endemic, indigenous, or introduced?

Researched Answer:

The Uala plant was brought by the early Polynesian, so therefore this plant was introduced to Hawaii.

Question #3:

Where does the plant grow best (habitat)?

Researched Answer:

The Uala plant grows best in poor soil areas and in places up to 5,000 feet of elevation.

Question #4:

What does the plant look like? (Describe the leaves, stem, fruit, flowers, etc.)

Researched Answer:

The description of the 'uala is: some of the leaves are heart shaped, some with deep lobes. This plant soon will produce pink-lavender flowers.

Question #5:

Are there any Hawaiian stories or legends about the plant?

Researched Answer:

This plant does have a legend. It goes like this:

Hina-i-ka-malama found a sweet potato from the moon. This kind was called hua-lani(fruit of Heaven). Legends say therefore, that she was "nourished the moon" (ai-ka-malama).

When she escaped to the moon, her husband cut off her foot to use as a planting. He wanted to keep this precious new food. She became a goddess and her spirit took the form of the sweet potato.

 

There is also a poem that goes like this: In Hawaii sweet potato

Has the name 'Uala,

For its god, whom we all know,

It has Kamapua'a.

 

So many, many varieties,c

Two hundred some I'm told,

Tubers and leaves the imu cooked,

Eaten hot or cold.

 

Old vines and leaves for soft, soft padding

Underneath the mat,

Tubers cooked and vines quite fresh

For pigs so they'd get fat.

Question #6:

How did the Hawaiians use the plant?

Researched Answer:

The Hawaiians used this plant for food, medicine, and bate for fishing.

The medicine was something you use if you have a soar throat or if you just ate something bad, then you could eat or drink it and it would make you throw it up.

Question #7:

Other interesting information about the plant?

Researched Answer:

Some interesting other facts about the Uala is that it takes 3-7 months to grow; there were about 200 kinds of sweet potato, but now there is only a few. Most of the vitamin that the 'uala provides is contained in the skin of the vegetable. This was a good thing to eat if you are pregnant. Whenever farmers plant the Uala they pray to the gods that the plant will not die.

Pictures colored in KidPix

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Courtney

Christine

Student Digital Pictures

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Hala Paintbrush Artwork

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Courtney

Christine

 Back to the C25 Plant Page