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Planchonella sandwicensis | by D.Eickhoff
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Planchonella sandwicensis

[syn. Pouteria sandwicensis]


Sapotaceae (Sapodilla family)

Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands (All the main islands except Niʻihau and Kahoʻolawe)

Kānepuʻu, Lānaʻi


ʻĀlaʻa wood was used to make gunwales for canoes, house construction, ʻōʻō, and spears (ihe). A digging stick (ʻōʻō) made of ʻālaʻa was also called ʻālaʻa. The milky sap was used as a glue (kolū) for tool and weapon handles.


The sticky sap was used in pīlali, or birdlime, to snare small forest birds for feathers for cloaks, capes, helmets, lei, and kāhili. The flowers of ʻōhā wai (Clermontia spp.) were used to lure the victims in kia manu (bird-catching by gumming).


The seeds were used to make permanent leis.


The leaves and bark were used for external medicine. The leaves were for curing the illness referred to as pehu poʻipū.



The generic name Planchonella is name for Jules Émile Planchon (1823-1888), a French botanist born in Ganges, Hérault, France.


The specific epithet sandwicensis refers to the "Sandwich Islands," as the Hawaiian Islands were once called, and named by James Cook on one of his voyages in the 1770s. James Cook named the islands after John Montagu (The fourth Earl of Sandwich) for supporting Cook's voyages.

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Taken on May 28, 2005