Paʻiniu, Menzies' astelia
Asteliaceae (Astelia family)
Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands (All the main islands except Niʻihau and Kahoʻolawe. Common to fairly common on most of the main islands, but rare on Oʻahu)
Hawaiʻi Island (Cultivated)
Early Hawaiians used the silvery leaves in lei. Hats were braided from the shiny outer leaves, sometimes with other plant materials, as a sign that one had visited Kīlauea Crater.
Paʻiniu was rarely used for house thatch.
The leaves are still incorporated in modern lei for neck, head, wrist, ankle, and for the horse.
The genus name Astelia is derived from the Greek, a, without, and stele, column or pillar, in reference to the habit of plants in this genus having little or no stem.
The species epithet menziesiana refers to Archibald Menzies (1754-1842) a Scottish surgeon and naturalist, and the first to taxonomically identify the species.