Revised List of Hawaiian Names of Plants Native and Introduced with Brief Descriptions and Notes as to Occurrence and Medicinal or Other Values by Joseph F. Rock Consulting Botanist, Board of Agriculture and Forestry Honolulu, Hawai‘i, 1920

Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon


In 1913, the writer compiled a list of Hawaiian names of plants, which was published as Botanical Bulletin No. 2 of the Board of Agriculture and Forestry. The above mentioned list comprised simply the Hawaiian names and the corresponding scientific names of plants both native and introduced. Owing to the popularity of, and the demand for, the bulletin it was soon out of print, and the suggestion was made by the Superintendent of Forestry that the list be reprinted. Since 1913, the writer has added quite a number of new names to the old list and it was thought advisable to incorporate these in the present publication, which gives in addition a short popular description of the plants and such facts and notes as are of ethnological and historical interest. Many of the added names were secured from an old kahuna from Kaupō, Maui, who has since died. He collected plants personally and brought them to the writer giving the native names and such information as he could transmit through his interpreter, the writer not being familiar with the ancient Hawaiian speech. This information is here incorporated. Some of the scientific names have been changed in order to conform with the present day nomenclature. Others, only very few, however, needed to be corrected. Some represent new species which were described more or less by the writer.
The present publication is simply to fill a popular want and therefore the remarks under each plant are couched in popular language. Unfortunately the meaning of some of the Hawaiian names has been lost, and the writer has translated only those of which he was absolutely certain. Such delicate work which presupposes intimate knowledge of the Hawaiian language the writer will leave for Hawaiian scholars, such as Mr. T.C. Thrum and Mr. Joseph Emerson, and it is hoped that in the compilation of the new Hawaiian Dictionary, provision for which was made by the Hawaiian Legislature, the Hawaiian names given in this publication will not only be used, but their original meaning explained in order to preserve the historic value connected with them. No name was inserted for which the writer did not have the actual corresponding plant before him. Some of the plants brought to him by kahunas were fragmentary and a specific diagnosis could not be made owing to the polymorphic character of many of the Hawaiian plants, especially such as belong to genera like Cyrtandra or Peperomia.
July 31, 1920 Joseph F. Rock

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