What would Hawaii be without coconut palms?

  • As was done by early Hawaiians, young palms may be planted as older palms age thus continuing the cycle of nut production. Today, we can plant the disease resistant dwarf coconuts that are aesthetic as well. (Voltaire Moise/Special to West Hawaii Today)

When the first Polynesians arrived in these Islands, there were very few plants available as a food supply. Fortunately, they brought a great variety with them that we refer to as canoe plants. These included, banana, sugar cane, breadfruit, mountain apple taro, coconut and scores of others. They also brought pigs, jungle fowl and rats that changed our forests forever. At first, Hawaiians had to survive on food from the sea, seabirds, flightless birds and others that soon became extinct. Once they established their gardens, life likely became much easier.