Volume 49 1940 > Memoirs > No. 16 Fiji plants: their names and uses, by H. B. Richenda Parham, p 17-80
MEMOIR No. 16
Supplement to the Journal of the Polynesian Society.
FIJI PLANTS THEIR NAMES AND USES
INSTALMENT No. 2
- 2 Page is blank- 17
A very attractive bush, with flowers in umbels and of greenish colour; leaves feather-veined. Sometimes listed as Agalma vitiensis.
Much valued by all Malayan and Polynesian races, both for its ornamental foliage and its medicinal values. The root has a strong but pleasant aromatic smell, tasting like parsley. It is recommended as a diuretic and the leaves are made into tea. The bark, too, has a good repute in Fiji—the juice crushed from it is taken as a remedy for macake (thrush) and ulcerated tongue and throat.
This species is also valued as a medicine for wounds and sores. The natives simply chew the leaves, or heat them and apply to the wound. Danidani is a wonderful remedy, and dogs when injured while pig-hunting are readily cured by the application of the leaves of this plant.
The ginger. Vide beta.
Daseea is the Namosi name for this small tree, in other parts it is often given to the species T. Megaphyllum.
A very beautiful purplish-blue flower; its green leaves are very attractive. It has a diversity of names.
Another native name for yam.
Belongs to the Sedge family. The culm is three-sided and smooth, leaves stiff with rough edges; flowers small in umbels of 6 to 8 rays.
The fruit of this very handsome tree is about the size of a hen's egg, flattened at both ends, and has a glutinous honey-like taste. In early days, according to the Rev. Lawry, “was much esteemed in the lack of other fruits.” It has always had a great reputation for its medicinal virtues. The Fijians considered an infusion of the bark and leaves of the dawa were, together- 18
with the leaves of the wakai (Batatas paniculata) a successful cure for sterility. Sometimes the women eat the fruit with this belief. There are in all five specimens of dawa, the dawa-vula, dawa-sere, dawa-siseci, dawa-moli and dawa-buka. The dawa-sere is much resorted to in cases of diarrhoea, a drink being made of the leaves. The repute of this tree almost amounts to superstitious veneration.
A large kind of dawa.
This orchid seems to be destitute of foliage. The flowers are small and soft with peduncles of a greenish colour. The roots are long and adventitious. The flower has a short hooked lip (unguiculata). Its native name means “dust on the breeze.”
A common tree on the sea-coast, with small leaves and white flowers.
A Macuata name for the cavucidra and qavinialewa. Used medicinally for pains in the abdomen and for what is commonly called a stomach-ache. Also for amenorrhoea. A drink is made by the Fijians by rubbing the leaves together in the hands with some mango leaves; then put into a cup or pannikin with boiling water and given to young children and even infants when the natural evacuations are of too dark a colour. It is also called “tooth-brush” because used by Indians to clean their teeth. There is another plant called qavinialewa which Kew classifies as the Sida rhombifolia.
The Fijians boil the whole plant in sea-water (or salt and water). The longer it boils the stronger the medicine. They drink a little frequently as a cure for dysentry.
Deniosi is a quaint-looking weed-like plant, and the leaves are often of a bronzy colour. It is greatly esteemed, and is in request as a poultice for boils. In Bua (Vanua Levu) it is used also in cases of dysentry. For this purpose the whole plant is boiled in sea-water and after long boiling, the liquor is taken internally. “The longer it boils, the stronger will be the medicine,” said our Fijian informant.
Grows well in marsh land with creeping roots and drupe-like fruits.- 19
Wright gives this as a Macuata name, for the Cavucidra, which is also sometimes called qavinilewa. Kew classifies this plant as the Sida rhombifolia. As the fibre of the Sida rhombifolia is used in some parts of the Empire to make bags, etc., it seems this might prove worthy of experiments in Fiji as it grows so easily here. Fijians use this plant medicinally as we have noted above under cavucidra.
Common in Vanua Levu. A large tree 70 feet in height. Recent research establshes its value (beside the timber, which makes excellent cases) for resinous exudate, which gives 25% resin, and quite 25% of other resines, these promise to be useful in making a metallic lacquer. In Macuata the fruit forms in June. It is common in Cakaudrove.
Frequently called the vago. Known also as the bottle-gourd or calabash, as these gourds were used as containers for oil, long before glass bottles were introduced.
This small, tubular flower has also small leaves and an oddly-shaped fruit. It is sometimes called by the Fijians le ra. Found in Nadroga, where it is called cadrai. Use of this plant vide under the name uciniraurau. Height of 20 to 30 feet. It is often called cevua.
Digi is the name given to many common ferns, according to the province in which a fern is found, belonging to the species.
Most of the ferns mentioned above are medicinal.
This tree is well-known for the excellence of its timber, and is in special repute for cabinet making, etc. The flowers are very attractive, bunches of waxy-white blossoms, with yellow anthers. The fruit yields a heavy green oil, greatly valued as a liniment by those who suffer from rheumatism. It is now recognized by the medical profession, and used for injections. The leaves crushed till the juice is extracted; it is said that this applied to the eyes, relieves long-standing irritation.- 20
The dilovatu is known in Bua province as the tadruka.
A woody climbing plant with beautiful crimson seeds with a black spot, often called black-eyed Susan by Europeans. Its leaves are pinnated.
An herbaceous shrub with whitish flowers, found in Nadroga, and in Bua. Often mistaken for the Clidemia hirta or Koster's Curse. Known in some parts as dorodorokilotu and diridirikilotu.
This tree grows on the fringe of the forest often to the
Called also bokonilekutu. Found in Vanua Levu. A small tree growing in forest, with red fruit.
The leaves of this tree are of repute as a medicine as described under its other name tarawaunicoqe. It is also sometimes given the names of tarawaunikaka and na vuga. Also is possibly the tree known under the name of kawa in Nadroga.
The fruit of this tree is about ¾ of an inch in diameter; and is like an orange when cut (eight sections). Petals four. Flowers borne close to the stem (sessile). Four stamens. When first found it was thought to be an edible fruit from its appearance, but when cooked was found to be unpalatable.
Common on all low-lying coasts. The wood is durable; the sap very red and is used in colouring the native pottery; it is mixed with the sap of hibiscus and painted on the pots while still hot after baking. The colour is permanent. Hair-dye is sometimes made by the Fijians from dogo. In times of food-shortage the radicle of seedlings is used as a vegetable.
The leaves are pointed at both apex and base; and it has beakless fruit.- 21
This belongs to the same family as the dogo (mangrove). The fruit was used to make madrai (native bread) in former times when other food was scarce.
Generally a small tree. The timber is rufous. Branches often snap off, and are supposed to foretell storms (cagi). It is also called selavo.
This is an interesting shrub, as it belongs to a genus which was supposed at one time not to exist beyond the Americas. The flowers are in a cyme-panicle, and are terminal. It is mostly met with in the mountains of Macuata (Vanua Levu).
The Fijian name means the Red doi.
Also called doisau. A tree of medium size with greenish flowers. It grows in both Colo north and Namosi provinces.
A slender tree or shrub with terminal inflorescences; corolla hairy, white, and tubed, leaves glabrous and petioles swollen at base.
Name for dalo in Ba, Nadronga, and Serua.
Probably introduced from the West Indies, where dalo is commonly called tannias and eddoes. Used as a vegetable, also for soup; very nutritious.
Medicinal. The flowers vary in colour from deep mauve-rose to white. It grows well on hill-sides and in open spaces. The pretty pink flower is often mistaken for the Koster's Curse (Clidemna hirta). The leaves are very similar, but the flowers- 22
and berries are different, and indicate it is not the same. See docedoce for the Nadroga name. The one under review, is so called in Bua.
It is sometimes called M. denticulatum. See above dorodoro-kilotu.
This is a basket-fern, sometimes called beluve. Dovidovitaqela is the Colo north name.
It is only when this species of fern is mature that it receives this Fijian name, which refers to the “divided fronds.” There are variants of the name, such as drabasbasogo, and others.
This shrub is said to be good for any ailments of the back, such as lumbago, etc. The native advice is “Steep the fruits in water and later on drink it.”
This tree is called rara in Bua. It has very handsome spikes of red flowers, of a rich deep shade. There are two other varieties of this tree, one decidedly white the other pinky-cream, but they classical name, although Fijians make a distinction by calling the white one drala vula (White Drala).
The flowers of this species are red with white splotches.
Lavender-coloured flowers with slightly aromatic perfume.
The dralasala is in some places called the dralawa. It is also called the mulokaka and the dralakaka. The Fijians value the leaves of this pretty plant for the medicinal properties, especially for abscess in the ear—and for this purpose they chew the leaves together with the soft inner stem of the gasau grass (Eulalia japonica), and put the pulp thus obtained into the orifice of the ear. They then take a young shoot of the gasau and use it as a probe wherewith to break the abscess. In Vanua Levu, especially in the dry zone, this shrubby plant grows as a rule close to the ground, in a thick mass of scented leaves. In Viti Levu it is often found growing as a small tree.- 23
There is a legend in the Pacific islands that if the flower of the dralasala (or kolokolo as it is called in Hawaii) is pulled, the tears of Heaven (rain) will fall, so the natives were careful not to pluck it, as they dreaded cold rain.
A species generally cultivated in the tropics. In Fiji it is cultivated by natives in Kambara island. White flowers, leaves trifoliate. The beans are sometimes used as a vegetable. Also grown in the vicinity of Lautoka.
This is a very pretty creeping plant, and drano is its name in Colo West. The flowers are blue and three-petalled. Leaves are intensely green.
A huge species of Alocasia, sometimes as much as 12 feet high and correspondingly large roots. This species has other Fijian names, e.g., via-mila, via-gaga, via-sori, etc.
A very strong and vigorous sage-like plant. It is very free-growing, especially near houses, and at times takes the place of sage, in country cooking. The flower has purple bracts, which give distinction to the pale-blue labiate flowers. The leaves are very aromatic, and are said to be efficacious as a cure for sore eyes, and headaches, while a tea made from it is considered good for those troubled with colds or cough. The Fijians often call this giant sage laca. In Taviuni it is called ta moli.
Tree with very rough bark; it has, when cut, a pinkish slash, and exudes a sticky white latex. Leaves pinnate alternate, reddish when young.
Also called the drokanigata in Bua province on account of its mottled stem.
Considered to be a draunikau medicine in Bua. Possibly the same as draunimakaka. This tree, which is also called tuiniduna, grows usually on creek-banks and is to be found in the Bua province. This reference to a draunikau medicine calls for a little explanation. As simple verbal translation, it conveys very little meaning to the uninitiated—as a knowledge of the “leaves of the forest” sounds perfectly harmless, whereas in point of fact the cult of the draunikau was by no means in the olden times an innocent dabbling in simples, and even now when practised at all is still far from being without a certain sinister intention. The native who professes to have such knowledge is regarded as a magician. The Government has rightly determined to stamp out the use of draunikau. Dr. Brough characterised it as “Sorcery or Black Magic,” and says, “it is the art of doing harm, through an alliance with the tevora or demon. The doctor evidently used the words as expressive of the Fijian standpoint and not his own—for he says further—“The Sorcerer calls himself vaka draunikau, one who manipulates the leaves of trees. These men are beings, enemies of all that is good and possessed of all vices, constantly occupied in using sorcery against their equals and their belongings … there are herbs to demoralise, engender hatred, jealousy or love.” But all draunikau medicine is not used for such purposes, and nowdays the expression often amounts to no more than what is called in England, “old wives' herbal nostrums.” The Fijians love of the mystic makes them pose as knowing something more than the use of herbs for medicine. A further description of the draunimakale tree will be found under its other name tuiniduna.
The me is a smaller species of the mere, and is a running plant with woody fibre and useful for fastenings, in grass houses, etc. Apparently the drau (leaf) ni-me has similar foliage to the draunime.
A small shrub, sometimes bushy and at others creeping. Long leaves with margins. Flowers in small terminal racemes on short petioles, five petals, five stamens, capsules leathery. Has soft fleshy crimson fruits, appreciated by birds. Called also kausau.
In Nadroga the leaves of this shrub are much liked added to prawns in the process of boiling, hence the name ura (prawn).- 25
Flowers white and the drupes black, the former, which are sweet-scented, grow in cymes with yellow stamens, and light-green leaves. Flowers from November to January.
This medicinal plant grows on hill-sides in open places and is found in the Bua province, and probably was introduced by the American Expedition in 1840.
This species of Ficus has very small leaves and very tiny yellow berries; these turn brown when dry.
This is a very symmetrical tree, about 30 to 35 feet in height, beautiful cymes of flowers, of which the calyces are bright mauve. An ornament in any shrubbery.
This drautolu has yellowish-green flowers, which grow in loose cymes.
wavue. A sea-side weed with yellow flowers.
There is a bitter, stomachic tonic in the leaves of this plant. It is used by the Fijians as a cure for loss of appetite, for indigestion, and dyspepsia. They pound the leaves and infuse in boiling water for this purpose.
Rare, according to Harvard University. Has a medicinal use in Bua province.
dredre is the Bua name. It is called vevedu in Colo west. It has white flowers with unequal petals, and is a plant of the littoral.- 26
Also known as the uciniraurau. A pretty white-flowering herb. dredrewai is the name in the vicinity of Suva.
Flowers and fruit are white, petals unequal, three the same size and the fourth double. Leaves small and glabrous, ovate, notched; the flowers are in pairs. Found in Nadroga province. Plentiful in higher altitudes. The fruit, also, is white.
This is also called gasau ni vuaka by the Fijians. It has a very erect stem, long-petioled leaves, flowers are green with very short pedicles. A common road-side weed in Fiji.
The red driti. A plant with very beautiful foliage, in which red, yellow, and green combine and have gained for it the name (sub-order) of tricolour.
This pretty pink-flowering shrub has many other names in the vernacular, viz., vokanamatasawa and medrasucunabeka, that is “the early morning beach,” or “the landing beach at ebb tide,” or “the flying-foxes' drink.”
This small shrub has oblong leaves with wavy margins, short petioled flowers, five stamens and five petals. Capsules are leathery. The shrub is bushy, sometimes creeping on the ground.
Small trees with inconspicuous flowers.
It is possible that Cakaudrove obtained its name from the abundance of drove, that is, of seaweed, on its shores.
A medicinal plant. It is called dalaheka in Nadroga, but drove in Cakaudrove—the latter part of the name of this province is by many considered to be a derivation from the plant which is found there in adundance; whereas other authorities prefer to trace the name to the sea-weed on the beaches, also known as drove.- 27
Called also duruka. The ears of this species are very palatable when boiled like cauliflower and served with white sauce. It is often called taruka.
Also called drano and vakasoviroviro. Duludauwere is the Lau name. Generally a recumbent herb but occasionally is found erect, smooth green leaves and blue inflorescence.
It is also, Gillespie says, called kauto. This is a smaller variety of Couthovia than that shown in Plate in The Flora Vitiensis. The flowers are white or cream.
The duva is a very well-known shrub, on account of the use to which the pounded leaves have long been put—to stupefy fish in order to catch them with ease and certainty. Duva is frequently met with climbing near the sea-beaches. The flowers spring from all parts of the shrub, even, so it is said, from the roots; they are yellow, purple, or white, on short stems. It has some repute also as an insecticide. Known also as tuva.
This is a medium-sized tree, the branches are pendulous, white rounded petals, leaves smooth.
Called also roronibebe.
A small tree or shrub which grows freely on sea-beaches. It is interesting on account of the drupes—which may be compared to giant, green gooseberries. The Fijians say it has special medicinal value.
Wood similar to that of the New Zealand lancewood, very elastic, growing generally by rivers and creeks, about 40 feet high.
The Nadroga name for alu or yalu. Medicinal.
Same as katakata. According to Sykes the order Gunoniaceae.
A reed much used for thatching Fijian houses. It grows from 10 to 14 feet high and has flowers like Pampas grass. Said to foretell hurricanes when flowering at same time as doi and cagolaya. Sometimes listed as the Miscanthus japonicus.
Indian shot. Fijian name means duck's reed. Flowers red. The seeds are hard and black, and used for making seed-chains. Dr. Wilder lists this plant under the sub-order Cannaceae.
The Fijian name means “pig's reeds” or gasau of pigs.
Kai Viti women give a drink made with this fern and water to their babies, as they think it is a good digestive.
Dense forest. Vanua Levu. The fruit is heart-shaped, yellow when ripe, but when dried, black. The leaves also turn black on drying.
Written by Gillespie ngeengee. A climbing bush, with leathery leaves and very adundant inflorescence. Slopes near Namosi, and on Mount Voma. The Nadroga name.- 29
Leaves very thinly coreacious. This is apparently the same small tree described by Gillespie under the name E. reticulata very fully. He found it in Colo north province, and at Nanda-rivaru, as well as on Mount Lomazanga. The floral parts are mucilaginous.
Also called guigui, medicinal fern.
Inner bark for curry; also the bark for medicine. Found growing in Colo west.
Also called sasa in Nadroga. Probably the same as the ya (Eleocharis variegata) of Dreketi, where it grows in the swamps. It is used for the best kind of mats.
A small tree, often seen in Nadroga. Bark grated and boiled in pot for an hour or so, said to be a panacea for pain in the lungs and cough. Flowers vulavula (white). According to Sykes the order is Cunoniaceae.
The Nadroga name for lekasama. Reputed as a good medicine to cure rheumatism. Creamy-white flowers.
Called kawai in Nadroga province. In common with most of the dioscorea genus kawai ranks high among the edible roots of this group and is a very favourite food, while in season.
A Nadroga name for houleka.
This fern is used for food; the leaves take the place of spinach and are appreciated where green food is unobtainable.
The same as lekasama and hama which see.- 30
The Nadroga name for gasau grass. Miscanthus is the more modern and therefore acceptable botanical determination.
Also called wahitumailagi, walutumailagi, and waverelagi. This plant is well known to European settlers as the dodder. Used as a medicine by pounding the long threadlike stems and adding cold water. Used as a drink, for indigestion and difficult parturition, and to reduce fever.
Nadroga name for this creeper, which is sometimes called wa votovotoa wa vuka and wagadrogadroa.
A splendid, buttressed shade tree, leaves are leathery; flowers are small, white, and deliciously perfumed. Ferns, orchids, and hoyas grow well on the soft, spongy bark. The kidney-shaped fruit is frequently called the Tahitian chestnut, and is edible. The Fijians boil or bake the kernel, and eat it either whole, or grated for use, in native bread or puddings. The timber is tough but owing to the buttressed character of these trees, is not economical for commercial purposes.
Seemann's name for this shrub was kedra ivi na yalewa kalou, while the early settlers called it the looking-glass plant—on account of the supposed resemblance between the lower-side of the leaves and a looking-glass on its underside. This tree is of very crooked habit and therefore of less value for its timber, though this is very strong and lasts well.
Common in E. Indies. Fruit of great size. Seeds roasted for food. Timber good. Introduced.
Banks of the Navua and Namosi rivers. Leaves have very short petioles.- 31
Evergreen, climbing shrub, tuberous roots. This species is covered all over with minute spines. Flowers in umbels, berries black, called also wa-rusi, and wakauwa. In cases of debility it is recommended, that, after pounding the leaves well, they should be steeped in water for some hours. This is said to be a splendid tonic.
This is common with other species is excellent food. All plants called kaile are reputed to be useful as a cure for abscesses.
This is another species also often used as food.
The fronds of this plant are somewhat spongy underneath. Common in stagnant water. Pantropic. L. minor has the same Fijian name.
Is the same as daka. Has pretty flowers and showy fruit. Often goes by the generic name kavika.
This is the bush variety. It, as well as the following, is used as a medicine; and also, as a charm, in former days, when it was believed that chewing the leaves would ensure safety on unfamiliar tracks.
This shrub grows to about 10 feet. The usual colour is a coppery shade, but the leaves vary much, sometimes they are pink, yellow, and brown, and then the plant is very ornamental. The kalabuci is one of the trees that are held in special regard among the Kai Viti. In common with the leaves of the sinu-gaga and the sasagilu, the leaves of this plant are supposed to have a kind of magic power. The natives think chewing them will keep them safe from all harm. A tissane of the leaves is also considered very helpful in cases of pleurisy—it is said to relieve the fever and burning thirst, attendant on this malady.
The kalakalauasoni is a beautiful red-flowered hibiscus, and is at times called also, the kalauaisoni. It is greatly valued by- 32
Fijian women, as they find a drink made of the leaves, boiled in sea water, very helpful in many complaints incidental to their sex.
The kalasevu had also the local names of qato, koukou and karuka, in Vanua Levu, as well as kalasima or kalasiva. The natives in Bua province say it is a splendid cure for toothache— they chew the young shoots and hold them in the mouth.
Bua. Frequently found in the Navakasiga district.
Another name for dalo, the big root of which is a favourite food of the Fijians and of many Europeans.
Imported garden-flower. The Aster; commonly called Starwort in the U.S.A.
There are now many varieties of Bauhinia in Fiji. Pink, white, helitrope, etc., all strikingly beautiful. Commonly known as the “Butterfly Tree.” Leaves are trilobed, hence its name.
Medicinal Creeper. See also under wa-loa, yalu, and alu.
Often called thauthau. Penetrating perfume by night. White flowers.
Large buttressed tree, grows in Macuata. Trunk has scaly bark, when cut timber is pink. It is hard, like yasi-yasi. Some resemblance to qumu. Observed by Sykes in the rain forest at Sigasiga, Macuata.
Kokovakova and draunigata.
keri and kurilagi—these are all names for dalo.- i
MEMOIR No. 16
Supplement to the Journal of the Polynesian Society.
FIJI PLANTS THEIR NAMES AND USES
INSTALMENT No. 3
- ii Page is blank- 33
A pretty species of moss, planted by natives round their houses.
Gillespie gives the Fijian names as lera or sa-lera. This tree has bright red flowers and is possibly the Ixora coronata of A. C. Smith.
This is not usually a very large tree, flowers have four sepals and twice as many stamens, white and racemous.
Another name for the qalo. A stunted bushy tree growing on tops of ridges at elevations of 2,500 to 3,000 feet, according to Mead.
A kind of Acacia that grows well near the sea. It has a hard wood and makes good axe-handles.
Kativari is the Savusavu name. Same plant as vevedu.
This Fijian name means the “woman's tree,” as it is prized by women for its medicinal virtues.
Small tree with scarlet flowers. Found at Rewa.
An interesting little plant. Fruits are shining black, fairly common at Ovalau, and in Colo west province.
In Vanua Levu called mali. About 70 feet in height. Red juice when slashed. Fairly common.- 34
A shrub with terminal inflorescences, flowers red, and funnel-shaped. Found by Gillespie on wooded ridges near the village of Namosi, Viti Levu.
Looks like Premna Taitensis, but has purplish stems instead of green ones. The leaves are infused in boiling water and the steam inhaled for debility. Also a drink is made from the bark, with leaves, boiled well. Found in Colo west and Nadroga.
This tree loves the sea-beaches. It is also called the nasimani-vanua.
Fijians have been accustomed to use the acrid and burning juice to cure ringworm. They allow a few drops to fall on the affected part, which is naturally inflamed and they say burns out the infection. It is a justly-dreaded tree. Though allied to the wi (Spondias dulcis) instead of being a valued food it has such poisonous properties that it has been not inaptly dubbed the itchwood.
This tree is small and rare, sometimes called Fiji ebony; it has a black heartwood. Considered by Mr. H. Smith to be a new species; he also gives the alternate native name of mulu.
Also known in some parts as the leba.
Called more often kovekove: which see infra.
A small tree growing on hillsides and in open spaces.
A small shrub with reddish-purple flowers which is to be found almost everywhere on the littoral. The flowers are very small hence the botanical name.- 35
All the Cassias are called kaumoce by the Fijians, because the leaves of these plants fold at sundown. Cassia toro is the smaller variety of Cassia, otherwise similar to C. obtusifolia.
A Bua name for this plant. See also denivuaka, qavinilawa and cavucidra.
This plant has pale-yellow flowers, rarely purple. Called also tautau.
Vide nawa-nawa. Fijians use sticks of this tree to make fire by rubbing them together, as the name implies.
These Fiji names are for the same tree. But kauniroi is Fiji also for a very different plant, with a totally unlike clasification in Botany, viz. Clidemna hirta or “Koster's Curse,” which belongs to the Melastomaceae.
Also called ai oola ni sali by Gillespie. A small tree or shrub, of which the flowers are yellowish and the fruit is green.
Slightly variant name in the Fijian for the same fern, kauni-vivatu. The A. lunulatum is a very graceful fern.
The kau-alewa means the “woman's plant” or tree, considered to be very helpful in many instances for women's complaints. There are several shrubs, small trees and bushes, that bear a similar name, and are equally valued. The Saurauja rubicunda is also a kau-yalewa, and so is the Sophora tomentosa (Luguminosae) though it is (according to Seemann) called the kau-ni-alewa. The first mentioned (T. agentea) kau-alewa is used as well by Kai Viti, for all sorts of stomach troubles, and is sometimes called the evu and the roro-ni-bebe (butterflies-rest).- 36
Also called Koar. Birds are very partial to the plentiful red berries.
A climbing and creeping plant. Also known as lakanikasa. Grows freely on waste ground. The kauseleka is valued by Fijians for its medicinal properties; they make a drink by boiling the leaves together with an unequal number of the leaves of the bush-quatema (Urena Lobata) in water. Another name for this plant is se-ni-yakavi (evening flower).
Makes excellent butter-boxes, the timber being white and odourless, and easy to work. Birds carry the seeds and in this way regeneration is well kept up in like manner to that of the P. vitiensis.
Kausolo. According to many Botanists the kausolo is listed as the P. cupressina. It has been suggested that no small tree should be felled, and permission should be obtained from the Conservator of forests first. Naturally it is wasteful to make firewood of good timber trees.
Found in Ovalau. Leaves oblong, almost oval, and the flowers in fasicules.
This is sometimes called the Fiji-cypress, but many authorities consider it and the kausolo are both P. cupressina. The remarks on the former tree apply equally to the kautabua. The name of the kautabua is derived from kau (wood or tree) and tabua (a whale's tooth) on account of the yellowish tinge in the wood being thought to resemble a well-oiled whale's tooth. R. A. Sykes gives amuni as the Fiji name, and says that it is a somewhat rare tree, but though the timber is soft, it is suitable for butter boxes, being white and odourless. He remarks on its feathery foliage; and in general appearance it is not unlike New Zealand white pine (P. dacrydioides).- 37
Called “rattle pod” by Europeans.
A large buttressed tree with a girth of about 12 feet, and height between 60 and 70 feet. The bark is a smooth brown, the slash, however, below the bark, is yellow, the timber is white and easy to work. It makes a good wood for fruit-cases, and is much used for banana-crates, but unfortunately it is often used long before being properly seasoned. This passes well enough for case-making, but would make the timber worthless for other purposes, such as e.g. its congener the obeche is able to supply the trade with, for motor-car bodies and ply-wood. The seed is in a three-celled capsule, each cell having one seed. The tree grows rapidly.
The Fiji name signifies that the leaves of this shrub are saponaceous. Many of the Crytandrea are glutinous and would make water frothy.
Valued by the Fijians as a medicine, useful in the ailments of women.
Kaualewa. Petals of a beautiful rose colour. A shrub or small tree.
A small bush found growing on the slopes of Naivaka Mountain, Vanua Levu.
There are two varieties of the rose-apple in Fiji:—1. white; 2. flowers tinged with crimson or mauve-violet. The latter is a very beautiful flowering tree, sometimes attaining to 40 feet in height and is, when in full flower, a sight never-to-be-forgotten. The kavika figures frequently in Fiji legends. The first has a delicate perfume, somewhat reminiscent of that of the best apples. “Scrape the inner bark of the kavika-damudamu together with that of the wi (Spondias dulcis) and make an- 38
infusion, cover with the leaves of the ivi (Inocarpus edulis) and let them steep in the water; when cold use freely to sponge the tongue. The infusion is used to cleanse the tongue.”
Also called siliwai. It grows by creek sides. See under lutulutu.
Called harau in Nadroga. The kawai is one of the staple foods of these islands, when properly cooked has the appearance of a floury potato, but is much whiter.
Commonly called kumala. This is a very favourite root-vegetable, often spoken of as the sweet potato or batata. The New Zealand name of the kumala, is kumara, and it is said that the Maori brought this excellent root with them from their distant home when they came to New Zealand.
A small plant growing in the Makadre forest, Colo west. Said to have medicinal virtues.
A ground orchid. Fijian name means pigeons' milk.
Another name for the blue-rat-tail or comasi. Kenaqeleyago is Colo west name.
This plant is reputed to have medicinal properties, being especially useful to women, as its very name in the Fijian, implies. The settlers called it looking-glass plant, on account of the back of the leaves looking somewhat like that of a mirror.
This is a fly-catcher, that is it catches ants and other small insects which alight on the receptacle. It has been found on Savage's Rock, Navakasiga.
Better known as qisa or annatto.- 39
Known also as the voivoi according to Smith. Used in Koros for weaving mats—sometimes called the varawa. The kiekie is probably the Maori name.
The kiekie or voivoi as it is also called, is often met with in swampy parts of the forests. It is an almost stemless variety of Pandanus. The blanched leaves make excellent mat, baskets, and fans; they are often used for personal adornment.
Section Adenoceras. This small tree is found in Vanua Levu. A. Smith lists it as a new species.
Hard, durable timber of a deep-red colour.
Also called, according to Binner, bucotabua utogo. A species of breadfruit, leaves are bullate.
Shrub found growing close to the sea. White flowers and very showy crimson berries.
ota. Rather a small tree, sharp buttresses. Timber very strong. Vanua Levu. (Yanawai).
This fern is reputed to have medicinal properties, and as the Fiji name denotes is mostly favoured by the men for their ailments.
For sprained or fractured limbs, the leaves are soaked in oil and the oil used to massage the injured limb. Also called the cekawa and lalobau.
Plentiful on Voma Peak, Namosi.
Black and red, used in earlier times to paint the faces for war.- 40
A graceful little herbaceous plant with a perfume of menthol in the roots.
There is another species of Wormia (W. membrenifolia) which has smaller flowers. The Fijians make a poultice of the inside bark for sore places, especially for broken abscesses.
Kulu is the name for breadfruit in Serua, Nadroga, and Colo west. See uto. Breadfruit is more or less abundant throughout the year, and is a very favourite food.
For food, medicine, and a good dye. The young shoots of this plant are greatly esteemed as the basic medicine in oil, for the cure of tokalau (ringworm) and other diseases. It is also regarded as of great use in cases of acute rheumatic pains. In cases of inflammation, the Kai Viti use kura as a poultice, that is the leaves are well chewed and then applied to the affected part. This shrub is called the noni or nono in Tahiti and Hawaii, and is indeed so called by all Polynesians. It is interesting to notice that the roots of the kura give a yellow dye, whereas the bark gives a red one. The Kai Viti in some parts say that those who dig graves must eat a kura leaf after their work is done, or some evil will overtake them. The flowers may be found early in the year. Sometimes called flowers of the moon.
Shrub, growing best in spaces and near streams. The leaves are pounded, steeped in water and the liquid drunk by the Fijians as a cure for indigestion. Creamy-white, scented flowers.
Also called senitoa sometimes, as well as sequelu. This shrub is very like the H. Rosa Sinensis, but the leaves are less deeply cut on the margin, and the colouring of the petals is more truly a rose-pink.- 41
This is the identification according to Asa Gray. But Radi-kofer listed it as Guioa Subfalcata, and A. Smith retains the latter. This small tree is interesting because all the flowers on each plant are of the same sex.
Other species have also the same name in the vernacular, e.g., Dysoxylum hornei and D. lenticellare. The A. elegans is a small tree with very slender branches, leaves brownish, flowers few, in upright racemes, fruits obovoid, very similar to the A. vitiensis, the mature fruit of the last named is orange, and that of the A. hornei is very attractive, resembling bright coloured peaches.
This is a small variety. Flowers greenish-white, numerous. Also called duva. This is an elegant species of Couthovia and rarely exceeds twenty feet in height. Habitat Ovalau and parts of Viti Levu.
Name also given to the Adiantum nigrum. A handsome fern which is sometimes called gata and gata moce in Bua province, where it is often in request for stomach-ache and indigestion. For babies and young children, the women chew the fern well, and put the pulp to soak in water.
Or na mudu. A small tree growing in Nadroga province.
“A pecular variety of dalo.
This is an Indian vegetable known as kurryla. The leaves of this plant are crushed and an infusion made which is drunk as a laxative in Nadroga.
This plant grows in Vanua Levu. It is also found in Brazil. The Fijians have been accustomed to use the long leaves in the making of a very fine elastic kind of matting.
An interesting plant, not fully described previously. It is called kutu by the natives in the Nadroga district, Viti Levu, and- 42
is by them highly extolled on account of its valuable medicinal qualities. It is a shrub about 8 to 10 feet high. It bears quantities of berries which are eaten by children with relish. The Kai Viti when suffering from inflamed eyes are in the habit of making a lotion from the leaves, infusing these in boiling water. The women also make a decoction which they use to alleviate their own various ailments. This drink is also used by the older people of both sexes, presumably as a stomachic.
This plant grows in dense clumps with culms of 3 feet in height, the stems are three-sided, and the margins rough. Found on the Yanawai, Vanua Levu, altitude about 1,000 feet.
Sometimes called the giant-sage. It is a very good substitute for better-known savoury herbs in cooking; also has the native name of danumi or sede. The Fijians take a handful of the leaves and pour boiling water on them and drink either hot or cold as a cure for coughs and colds. Also as a cure for sore eyes and aching head—by outward application. The medicine made from this plant has also been recommended in cases of bladder-trouble.
The flowers are long and bright-red in colour. It flowers in June and July, grows freely in the Nadroga district, in hilly country. Probably the same as Aglaia samoensis.
The flowers are sweet, and the natives use them to perfume their coconut-oil.
Often as much as thirty feet in height. It is known also in some parts by the name roro.
This variety of lime is better known as Citrus acida.
This is also known as kauseleka.- 43
lalivau and rogolali. It has yellow flowers, sometimes it is purple and yellow underneath.
See kovekove and cekawa. The natives use the leaves of the lalobau soaked in coconut oil for sprains and even for fractured limbs. The flower is extremely like that of the yellow ragwort or pigweed (New Zealand waste places).
The thallus is of a palid hue, and much compressed; it is sometimes erect, at others prostrate.
The Macuata name for the vuga, which see infra.
A red-flowered variety.
Introduced, but now grows freely in many parts. The blue pea.
A beautiful yellow orchid with large flowers and thick leaves—climbs on trees.
Not at all common. The timber is a light-apricot colour and makes very good furniture; also Sykes says, being of slender habit and small girth more useful for poles, etc.
Commonly spoken of as the candle-nut tree; the nuts are utilized for oil. The trees are plentiful and large quantities of nuts go to waste for want of harvesting. Also known as sekeci, tuitui and toto (Nadroga). The Fijians grate the bark and boil in sea-water till reduced to about a half for a drink and mouth-wash as a cure for neuralgia, etc.
Another name for yam, uvi, which see.
Also called leba, which see.- 44
A four-petaled yellow flower, which grows freely in waste places.
It is very plentiful in some places and is locally known both as lawere and ali ali. In Hawaii it is called the pohuehue. It is also sometimes called the wavutavula and the vulavula in some parts of Fiji. It flowers in January and right on to May. The leaves are valued by Fijian women who make a drink of the leaves. They regard it as a very helpful medicine at the time of childbirth. Sometimes the leaves are macerated and used as a poultice. Under its name of lawere it is in favour in Bua province as a cure for abcesses. In this case the leaves are used as a poultice.
The hurricane flower. See cagolaya, dalaheka and drove. It is the only wild-ginger in Fiji. Its flowers are small and white; the scales or bracts turn a rich crimson in the hurricane season, and so it gains the English name. It grows in the bush and on hillsides, it is in seed in April; these seeds are often used as a laxative for children. A drink is also made from its roots for colds, indigestion, stomach-ache and bladder-trouble. To make this tea the rhizomes are scraped, crushed, and then boiled thoroughly. Rather strangely the layalaya is in some parts of Viti Levu called danidani, because the Nothopanax multijugum is known in Bua province as danidani. It begins to flower in January and goes on flowering for many weeks; its bracts redden in February and March.
Also called lawelaula. Leba is a medium-sized tree, with yellow flowers and oblong leaves. It flowers about August, and fruits in September. The fruit is three inches long, and deep purple in colour and has a pleasant perfume. Fijians use it to scent their coconut-oil. The seeds are a beautiful carmine.
This is the name by which dabi is known in Bua province. This species of Carapa is always found in mangrove swamps.
Also classified as C. Bartramia by Merrill. Under the name of lekehama much approved as a cure for rheumatism by the natives in Nadroga and Colo west, who macerate the leaves in cold water. (The leaves can be chopped before the water is added.) Sometimes classified as the C. platyphylla.- 45
See diridamu, which is also known as the qiridamu. The pretty red seeds with the black spot at one end are well known all the world over—either as jiquitity or Black-eyed-Susana. It flowers in May, but the flower is less attractive than the beautiful red seeds which are so striking. In these bright seeds, however, a very virulent poison lies, and yet the natives make of them a decoction which they give children suffering from infantile enteritis. The seeds are crushed for the purpose of extracting the poisonous principle.
A terrestrial fern. Has some characteristics of Nephodium simplicifolium. Cure for undue strain after carrying heavy burdens, also for fever after child-birth. For strain, peel the stem and pound it well together with the leaves, and apply as a poultice. To lessen fever make a drink of the leaves with boiling water. In Colo west this fern is called the uvi habitu, and in some parts the lelemaru or vulavula.
Often called diridamu. Climbing herb, pale-green leaves, bright-red berries with black eyes.
Called saburo in Colo north. This is the misletoe of Fiji, and is very often found on the ivi-tree (Inocarpus edulis). The flowers, which grow in whorls, are attractive, the tubular florets being yellow at the base and a bright red on the upper part of the petals.
Sometimes called tagitagi; yaka is a more frequent name. Yaka is a very valuable timber, much used in favour for furniture. Also known by another native name, dakua salusalu.
Also known among the natives as leweninini-sa.
Greenish-yellow flowers, feather-veined leaves. The flowers grow in an umbel. This is a shrub, or small tree, and flowers at the end of the year.
The Alpinia species are interesting, partly on account of their appearance, but more so because the natives have woven so many- 46
tales about them. They thought they were under the care of the veli (spirits of the woods). It was tabu to touch the boia, the Fiji name for one variety.
The fruit of this kind of cycad has been used in place of bread (madrai) by the natives in hard times. Also called roro.
Edible fruit, similar to that of the F. scabra, but larger.
Evidently the long bright-crimson leaves of this species were thought to be like the feathers of the kula. The same idea led to the use of ti-kula for this handsome plant.
Also called loselosi, masimasi or nunu. Mature fruit red; eaten by natives in bad times.
This is the double-red hibscus. Probably H. Tricuspis. This variety is common in the group, and is called the vaudra.
According to Summerhayes, F. Barclayana. The loselose has a special place in the traditions of the Naivakasiga people. The story goes that, once on a time, the terrible Dakuwaqa, instead of destroying life, saved it. This sea monster is a very real menace, according to white men, as well as natives, and there are authenticated stories of the havoc done to cutters by this mysterious denizen of the deep. It is therefore with bated breath that a native speaks of the Dakuwaqa.
On the occasion above referred to, the Dakuwaqa had swum all the way from Tailevu to Rukuruku bay, and because he was tired he went ashore at that part of the coast that is now Botoi. But he found his big, shark-like body unsuitable on the land, so he left it, and took instead, a body like a man's. But though thus disguised he was no less the Dakuwaqa, a very dreadful being. He had come ashore to save going round the peninsula formed by Naivaka mountain, and therefore he walked straight to the village (Koro) of Nasau, and from thence to Naviqiri.
It so chanced that at Naviqiri there was a sick man—he had most dreadful sores on his legs, and no one expected him to get better. The Dakuwaqa saw the man.
“Ule! What is the matter with him?” he demanded.- 47
“He is dying because his legs are so bad, the sores will not heal,” one of his friends replied.
“Nonsense,” said the Dakuwaqa, “I can cure him.”
The friends looked at him with astonishment, but the Dakuwaqa only said:
“Have you here a plant called the loselose?”
“Yes indeed,” said the sick man's friends.
“Then get some of the leaves,” said the Dakuwaqa.
With alacrity they all rushed off to gather the leaves of the loselose.
“Now chew them,” the Dakuwaqa commanded—and they all started chewing the leaves with their strong teeth.
“Rub the man's legs with the pulp—rub them well.”
Very willingly they did so, and the Dakuwaqa disappeared, but the man recovered.
Ever since that far-off time, the natives use the leaves of the loselose as a poultice for sore legs and varicose veins. The loselose is also said to be a very good styptic for bleeding wounds, and for haemorrhage. For wounds pound the leaves well, and so extract the juice, with which to lave the cut or sore place. The leaves boiled in water make, so the Kai Viti say, a good eye-wash, especially for inflamed eyes, which they bathe in the water. If afflicted with scrofula they chew the leaves, and then with them rub the diseased limb or place.
Pronounced luzeluze in Bua. Also known as tubua-leka and vosavakaperitania?
The species of Ficus grows to a good size. The timber is yellowish. Girth sometimes as much as seven feet.
See also masiniulatoa and nunununu and duvuduvu.
See also loroloro, masi, and nunu.
See loselose. A slender tree from 15 to 20 feet high.
Found in Vanua Levu and Kadavu. Refer to masiniulatoa and nunu.- 48
This small fern is reputed to possess medicinal properties. It is used as a tea for children's stomach troubles. It grows on rocks in both Bua and Nadroga provinces.
This is the name of a seaweed, eaten by turtles, as well as by the natives. Also of a land moss.
General name for mosses, lichens, and green algae.
Medicinal. A tea is made from the leaves; it is recommended that the first water should be thrown away and only the second water drunk, for neuralgia and colds. In Nadroga the steam is also inhaled under a sulu, by those suffering from colds or lung troubles.
Or ovatu. Also the Fiji name for Eugenia gracilipes.
Or bogibalawa. Also sometimes called kavika-gaga and siliwai.
This is a shrub or small tree about 10 feet high; the leaves are leathery, with entire margin and are a greyish-green. The inflorescences are staminate and grow in the axils. Corolla is white, fleshy and urceolate. It grows well in forests that are of limestone formation.
It is very similar to the maba which is locally called mulu or kaukauloa—the lateriflora seems to be more generally known as maba. There are other species all classified, by botanists, by the name of maba, taken from the generic native name.
A beautiful foliage tree—the bark is useful as a spice product; it is called maiu in Namosa, and mou in Kadavu. Sykes says the timber “smells strongly of aniseed,” even when rotten. Is a valuable tree. It has leaves which when young are a beautiful shade of madder-red. The older leaves are aromatic and together with the bark also is in favour, its strong perfume being admired as a scent for oil. In Namosi it is used as a sudorific.- iii
MEMOIR No. 16
Supplement to the Journal of the Polynesian Society.
FIJI PLANTS THEIR NAMES AND USES
INSTALMENT No. 4
- iv Page is blank- 49
The fruit, when found was pale green, about the size of a cherry. A general name for many varieties of Ficus. Mahi is the Nadroga pronounciation. Sometimes referred to as masidrau-drau or na nevi (F. scabra) and has the reputation of being a very efficacious stomachic medicine.
A tree about 50 feet high, with grey-coloured timber. The flowers are numerous, but small, and are white with a slightly purple tinge. The fruit is a drupe, and has a rough, woody rind, light-brown in colour; this encloses a large kernel, which is valued as perfume for coconut-oil. The long feathery leaves were formerly used only for the thatching of heathen temples. A black sort of paint was also made of makita, and was used to blacken the faces of the fighting men. According to Kew there are various leaves, some round and some acute.
And maka. Tree with large entire leaves and small yellow flowers. Fruit winged. It is to be seen in most parts of the group. The timber is white and soft. According to R. A. Sykes, this tree “is easily recognized by its leaves which are three-nerved at the base, and have hairy tufts in the axils of the main nerves.”
A graceful tree about 30 feet high. Vanua Levu. Found in dense forests in Bua and Cakaudrove.
All the Laporteas have a nettle-like quality; they cannot be touched with impunity, for though no rash may result from contact, the irritation sometimes continues for months, and is increased when water is applied to the affected part. The natives call it kau tabu on this account—“the forbidden tree,” they also call it salato. The mako has larger leaves than some other species of salato.
Fijians are fond of perfumes and nearly always add some scent to the coconut oil they use on their own persons.
The makosoi or mokasoi or mokohoi is one of the most delightful scents, and is frequently used by the natives to perfume their oil. The flowers are pale yellow and very fragrant, they have six- 50
petals—there are many flowers in a cluster or umbel. The trees they grow on are high and the timber is good. Seemann quotes: “It does not appear to be a native of Bengal, or Madras, though it is well known in the East as ilang ilang.” More up-to-date authorities have traced its original habitat to Sumatra—and it is said to have been introduced to the Calcutta Botanic Gardens as early as 1797 (Dict. Economic Plants). The leaves of makosoi are said to be a sure remedy for that troublesome species of opthalmia, which is locally known as cika—or in ordinary colloquial English as “eye blight,” a very painful irritation of the eyelids, sometimes becoming chronic and leading to permanent loss of sight.
The bark also of the makosoi is used as a medicine, which is in good repute, both as an emangogue and anti-syphitic.
It is also considered as a helpful adjunct to a mixture the women make, for their own ailments, for which they use the bark of the salato (Laportea harveyi), yalu (Epipermum vitiensis), vesiwai (Pongamia glabra), saucawa (Micromelon minutum) as well as that of the mokosoi.
The mokosoi flowers in December and January, and so on to May and June, in the Bua province.
In Samoa the mokosoi is called moso'oi, and it is said that its time of flowering is one of the signs that the palolo (Fijian balolo) are near.
Doves are also said to be very partial to the olive-like seeds. The palolo is an edible worm-like creature which only rises at certain seasons and is regarded locally as a great delicacy, just as whitebait is in other countries.
Rather large yellowish-green flowers. The fruits are very attractive.
This tree has dark-green leaves, which it is said were eaten at cannibal feasts. The flowers are borne on long catkin-like spikes.
Now more often classed as M. Gillespieana. It is a small tree. The male is a species of nutmeg, and both the nut and mace are very fair substitutes for the Myristica moschata, or nutmeg of commerce. The fruit is about the size of a pigeon's egg—the arillus is a charming pink colour.- 51
Small tree with fairly large bright-green leaves and flowers in racemes; the female flowers crowded and are about 2 mm. wide and have a short style. The male flowers are small on short pedicels—with 8 to 30 stamens.
Juice said to blister the skin. Tree 60 feet high. Has a black stain—almost like ink.
Timber not very durable, sometimes used for house posts.
This is also known as the Moros papyrifera, and in Fijian is often termed ai masi. Before these people were able to have European cloth, they used the malo (paper-mulberry) for their scanty clothing—as well as other plants. The tree was propagated by cuttings, and was kept from growing higher than twelve feet. It has rough tri-lobed leaves. The bark for making tapa (native cloth) is taken off in long strips, steeped in water, scraped (with a conch shell), then macerated. After this it is beaten with a mallet (ike). Sometimes tapa is made of great length, patterns are printed on it, for this the juice of the lauci (Aleurites triloba) is used. Tapa is still used, and a good deal is made specially for selling to tourists.
The leaves of this plant are considered to be of medicinal value. The Kai Viti chew them, and put the juice in an ivi leaf and pour it into the ears and nostrils, as a cure for headache, when caused by getting over-heated in the sun, or by working over strenuously.
This is a small tree with glabrous leaves and branches. The leaf-blades are leathery, from 3 to 5 inches long and about 2 inches broad, the petioles are fairly long—the reticulate veining marked. Flowers, in axillary racemes, have white petals and numerous stamens. Found in dense forests in Vanua Levu—especially Mt. Seatura.- 52
A truly indigenous tree, yielding good timber, and very beautiful when in flower. It is fond of growing in groups. Found in Vanua Levu and Ovalau.
totowiwi or dabudabu. The timber is used for canoes.
Rewa name for oleti or weleti. Also called seaki.
Nadroga name for the wiriwiri, which see.
A very tall forest tree. Leaves glabrous, flowers dark golden, in terminal panicles—and very numerous. The calyx-lobes and petals vary in number, from 3 to 5. There are 10 to 12 stamens of a darker yellow than the flowers. The seeds are contained in a long pod and are brown in colour.
Same as vulawai, ravu levu, waini and ai-soosoo. The bark is thin and brown and peels easily, exposing the very white wood underneath.
Or getata. This plant is fairly common in Fiji, and may be found growing as a shrub, or a tree; but its height rarely exceeds fourteen or fifteen feet.
Apparently a species between A. samoaensis and A grandi-folius. A small tree, seldom more than twenty feet in height.
The Fijians use the roots of this plant, macerated, for a cure of toothache. The masawe is called qai in Ba and many other places. Ti-kula, (the Cordyline Jacquinii) is also sometimes called masawe by the Fijians. The roots of this plant are used instead of yams, when the latter are scarce. The juice is considered a sure cure for ear-ache, and also used to relieve colds and coughs. The Fijians chewed the leaves and squeezed the juice into the ear. The outer rind of the flower-stalk of the plant is valued for its anti-syphilitic qualities.- 53
Called also niu-masei, sakiki and viu. This palm is seldom over thirty feet in height. The leaves are made into fans for chiefs. It is a favourite in gardens. Sometimes given the classical name of Corypha umbraculata.
Also called mahi.
A tree 50 feet high, large leaves. The Fijian name according to Seemann signifies the leaves on which food is served. The size of the leaves would make it suitable.
A small tree, also called vauitamona. Leaves oblong, male and female flowers, small fruit. Vanua Levu and Tavenni, etc.
Also called nunu. Grows in low-lying woods, in Vanua Levu, Kadavu, etc.; flowers on short peduncles, grow on stems in small cymes.
Also called loroloro. This species grows to 40 or more feet. The leaves are 5 to 6 inches long. Inflorescence, from trunk in dense masses, also the fruits, are red when mature (edible).
Called also nunu and duvuduvu, nunu-ni-tuatua and masaniu-latoa. The edible fruit of this specie of ficus is often at first yellow, and then changes to a bright orange, red, or purple. This small tree is found in fairly high altitudes.
Nadroga. Used under mats in native houses, and for beds; sometimes this fern, having been placed on the floor, is kept in place by narrow strips of bamboo interlaced both ways. The result is rather that of a springy mattress. Found in Nadroga.
matanidra. This is a straggling shrub with slender branches. It has leaves rather like the English elm, but matadra leaves are white underneath; these have been used instead of tea, and are said to be similar in flavour to Chinese tea.- 54
Yellowish-green flowers, bright-crimson drupes. The bark of this seaside shrub contains a readily available fibre, useful for cordage, fishing-nets, etc. Fijians use the root-bark externally as a curative application for sores—and boil the leaves and branches in water to make a drink to relieve coughs.
Known also as botebotekoro, which see. Matamocemoce is literally kill-sleep. Probably a drink made from the leaves was refreshing, like our tea. The pappi are chaffy, the scales narrow and leaf-like. The corollas tubular, in five segments. It is a persistent herb.
Zinnia. Imported. The native name means eye-of-the-sun, or day, this is similar to our English daisy (day's-eye).
Also sometimes called malomalo, nakorovudi and niudari. It seems probable that this is also known under the botanical name of Tetranthera Pickeringii and Cyclicodaphe, as in Seemann the name Litsea is replaced by this word—he gives the vernacular as “Siga.” The Litsea magnifolia is, however, called nakorovudi and niudari by Gillespie.
A slender shrub with exquisite white flowers which are very fragrant, followed by red berries. Much valued by the Fijians for making garlands.
A cryptogamous plant that grows on rocks in many places.
Also called qetata.
Very much like M. castaneaefolia but the leaves are larger and are white underneath. Said to be good cabinet-wood. Slow growth.
Also called mouva. Seemann seems to have confused the mavu (Euphorbiaceae) with mavu-ni-toga (or Antiaris Bennettii) which belongs to the order Artocarpeae (Urticaceae).- 55
Or mouva. So called in Nadroga, also mavu. Used as a dye. It is allied to the Java upas-tree. The bark was specially planted in former times near heathen temples, and the wood was much used for building temples (bure kalou). It exudes a gum. The fruit is about the size of an apricot.
The Kai Viti think well of this plant, in some parts, for its medicinal use, and they generally call it the takala-levu. The leaves they say, are good for all sorts of cuts. The flowers are white, and fall off in the heat of the day. Pods are markedly crescent-shaped, and curved. The shrub grows on hill sides and also on creek banks. It flowers in March.
Medraquiloyilo is the Colo West name for this very common plant, which is called comasi in Bua Province. Though regarded as an agricultural pest, the royal-blue, deep-crimson and cream-coloured spikes are quite charming.
Colo West Province. Prettily marked on the back, where the sori are placed.
Colo West. This shrub has purplish-pink flowers, 4 meris—the calyx has also 4 sepals. Berries purple.
Creeper. Four crimson petals, shiny, smooth leaves, some-what coriaceous. Leaves opposite. Two bracts, close to cup-like calyx. “Draunikau” medicine. Found in Makadre forest, Colo West.
Common in mangrove-swamps; as it is durable in salt water, it is frequently used as ties when making reed-fish traps by the natives.
Called also somi somi and tomi tomi, a fruit of a pretty apricot colour, rather tart flavour, but appreciated by natives.- 56
Leaves are often two feet long or even more, and the stems are clothed in a silky, white wool.
The flowers are greenish-white. The leaves being grouped like those of many of the Bromeliaceae, it is usual to find a plentiful supply of water has been caught—a boon sometimes to campers.
A very graceful shrub, the leaves are deeply incised.
The Nadroga name, for a bright-leaved variety of Acalypha.
Kau-moce. Common in cultivated and waste places, where they grow as tangled herbs. The flowers are yellow, the leaves sensitive.
Or kau-moce. This variety is said to have been introduced recently by contrast to the above.
Has cymes of small, greenish flowers, and bunches of gelatinous fruit follow. It is a kind of salato, and called by this name of mocelolo in Nadroga.
This plant is of the same family as the salato, but has not its nettle-like characteristics. The seeds look like the spawn of fish, or squashy white currants.
A tea is made from the leaves; and the leaves are used, after boiling, as a poultice for the cure of pains in the neck.
Related to the Ixora elegans; slightly scented.
Also called the drai-ni-kau-ni-ula, which see.
The mokomoko grows on trees and looks very like the “adder's tongue” of English ferns. It is reputed to be useful in alleviating pains in the chest and back, for adults. This small orchid has a flower that is imitative of a lizard, and is said to be good for pain in the lungs and back. It is found at Na Sinu and other places near Suva, Viti Levu.- 57
The fronds together with those of the vati (Polypodium diversifolium) infused in hot water. This is a medicine for babies and young children.
The wild orange of Bua Province, which is considered to be poisonous by the Kai Viti, who therefore make no use of it, but it is eaten by cattle.
Medicinal, in Bua Province. Sometimes classified as the Phyllanthus seemannianus.
Macuata name for orange.
Shaddock. The bark of this shrub is much esteemed, by natives, for its tonic qualities. Moli-kana is better known as Shaddock, which was the name of the gentleman who introduced this species from the West Indies.
A name for Shaddock. (Nadroga.) A well-known fruit for preserving.
Moli-kara is the Lime and has the reputation of being a cure for dysentry.
Lemon. The Fijians frequently use lemon-leaves in boiling water instead of tea. Lemon trees are grown near their houses both for this purpose and also as a protection against evil: “Tevoras then can work no harm, the moli wields more potent charm.” Oranges as well as lemons are supposed to have this exorcising power. (Tevoras are malign influences).
The leaves boiled and drunk in the place of tea for a cure of headache.
Lime. The Lime is useful in cases of dysentry. Called also moli-kara, and drunk in the place of tea.
Bua name for orange. Also called moli-unusni.- 58
Orange. Introduced from Tahiti in early times.
Lemon. (In Bua Province.)
The same as moli-ni-taiti.
Another name for orange. (Bua Province.)
Wild Lemon. Same as moli-kurukuru.
A slender tree about 12 or 15 feet in height. Fruits are orange globose. 1 to 5 seeds.
The molou is a small tree, with flowers on short pedicels; it has a smooth calyx, short, apexed, oblong sepals, and short interior. The ovary is globose and 5 loculaire. Another molou is the P. ramiflorus—the name in Tahiti is ula-moe-moe. If attacked by dysentry, the native chews the leaves and when well chewed, ejects the leaves and then takes a drink of water. The molou-levu is also known as the qaloqalo.
The Indian name of this plant is the kuppameniya. It is used as a vermigal and carminative, and is also applied to sores.
Also called macou.
Also called mavu.
Colo West. Also called kau-vidi.
Shrub or small tree about 20 feet high. White corollas. Paper-like leaf-blades, prominent sosta. Fruit leathery. Also called the salanibogi (The sala of the night. Apparently therefore a night-flowering plant.) The plant is very attractive with plentiful and pure white blossoms. Found in Vanua Levu.- 59
Same as wa-rusi. This creeper is common in the Group. Berry round and black. Three seeds. Leaves often 12 by 9 inches. It is a “non-mealy” sarsaparilla.
The Bua name for the tavoli (tavoli-lali) which see.
More often known as the nokonoko which see. The name nakure refers to the way the branches and leaves shake in the lightest breeze. An almost sacred tree in olden times.
Flowers milk-white, very sweetly scented. Native name probably from the colour of the gum which exudes freely. (Lomo means a dye.)
Also called meme, nasio, and takala.
Called sometimes naselelevu, meme, and takala.
The bean of this plant is eaten by the Fijians. Sometimes classed as Lablab Vitiensis. It is known to Fijians also as dralawa.
Colo West. Imported. Sometimes called quatsma, they grow this plant near their houses. It is an everlasting flower.
These ferns thrive under intense isolation, sometimes forming dense thickets.
It grows in Bua. Is a small tree or shrub; has sweet-scented, pale yellow flowers; more often called nokonisavu and is also known as draunividi.
Usi and wasewase, which see.- 60
Leaves about 6 feet long by 2¼ inches in broadest part. Generally five such leaves grow together on apex of stem. Feather-veined, about 6 nerves on each side of the mid-rib.
Nadroga. Medicinal. See alu and waloa, etc.
A medium-sized tree. J. W. Gillespie gives sosonioora as the Fijian name—both names refer to the custom of cooking the leaves with prawns. The leaves are almost a yard long and about 8 to 10 inches wide.
Also na-wahina, and wa-kalou.
Allied to Luzuriga—it has cymes of white flowers and black seeds. Leaves long and narrow.
Colo West. Beautiful flower, very near to C. Magnifica.
For description of this medicinal plant, see below.
A small tree, mostly found near the sea beach. It has bright orange-coloured flowers, but these are not quite such a beautiful golden shade as those of the Cordia speciosa with which it is often confused.
The natives consider the seeds edible, but they are very tasteless, and they use the leaves for a drink, which is said to act in a special way on the large intestine in cases of diarrhoea.
Called also tamocemoce, matamocemoce, suguvanua, and bote-botekoro. This plant is used medicinally for a stimulant, weakness of the chest or chest complaints, and the Kai Viti chew the leaves on account of their anti septic virtues.
Also see niuniu. Nesi is the Bua name.- 61
A fairly large tree, with deeply serrated leaves—hence called “The Scorpion.”
Nadroga name for yaro, which see.
See Nuqanuqa. Nadroga name.
Coconut. Niu and niudina indiscrimately applied to the coconut palms by natives. They consider the coconut the only nut worth anything and so call it the “true”—niu dina, which see below.
In India known as the polgedi, and the oil is there applied to the head for cooling; the pulp of the young fruit given in sunstroke, and the root is used for strengthening the gums.
This is a diminutive palm, in favour for the making of walking-sticks, because it grows so straight a stem. These little palms are very elegant.
Same as the niu. The kernel is grated, heated either in the sun or in an oven, and the oil that is then exuded is collected for use, for lubricating stiff joints, for rheumatic pains, and to massage the body or limbs after severe strain, especially of back and stomach, as well as for making copra, and for the pleasant drink from the green nut, called bu.
The blade of the leaves being rounded made it pre-eminently suited for fans or rain-shields, and these were therefore kept for Chiefly use.
Root used by boiling, and drinking liquid as a cure of pains in the abdomen. See also nesi.
Fruit of this palm is a bright orange. The Fijian name means the red-palm. The Kentia exorrhiza has the same Fijian name.
Ovalau name for sogo. From this palm sago is made of quite a good quality.
This beautiful tree prefers solitude, but grows happily in the neighbourhood of the pandanus (screw-pines). It grows in poor soil, and its presenec is therefore thought to indicate that the land is of little worth. It was, however, much grown by the natives in early times, and often marked the place where a chief was buried. It is in repute by the natives for its medicinal qualities. For toothache the bark of the nokonoko is grated and then well chewed by the sufferer—or it is boiled in a little water, and taken as a drink. It is also valued as an antiseptic.
This small tree has been observed to grow particularly well in the vicinity of nokonoko trees. It also loves rocky hillsides. It has scented flowers which are white-petalled with yellow stamens. The leaves are light green. Called nanokonisavu also.
See also kura.
A slender tree found in dense forest. Inflorescences grow on trunk and branches.
Has a small fruit, eaten with gusto by the native children.
Known also as masimasi. This and many others under same name, have rough leaves. Sometimes these are used in the place of sandpaper.
Also called loroloro, masi, and losilosi.
Also known as masiniulatoa and losilosi, which see.
See losilosi and masiniulatoa. See above.
Also called masimasi and vuaitamani.- 63
Fruit sometimes eaten by the natives, small, and clustered in dense racemes.
Often called affectionately by the old settlers “Fiji May.”
Often now called the wakiwaki. Seemann gives the Fiji name as vakeke.
Often called the “mummy apple.” The fruit is good, either eaten raw when ripe, or boiled as a vegetable while still green. It makes quite a good conserve, treated with lemon juice. The leaves are saponaceous and when used with tough meat make it tender. The seeds are a useful vermifuge; while pepsine can be extracted from the green fruit and seeds. It has many names—such as maoli in the Rewa district (and Nadroga); seaki is the Colo West name.
The inner bark of the root after being grated and boiled in sea-water is used as a cure for neuralgia.
For dyspepsia the milky juice of the green pawpaw is extremely useful as a peptic.
The leaves are used in some countries in the place of soap.
The flowers of the olala are mauve and white, and grow in large bunches. This is the Bua name.
This is the Colo West name for the olala.
This timber is very hard and is a dull-yellow hue. The yellowish-white flowers are small in full raceme bunches, the leaves are very broad and bright green above. Apparently the natives sometimes call this species as well as C. Seemannii boloa.
Native of South Africa, yellow timber. Seen at Nasinu (introduced).
Another name for bokoi, as used in the Rewa district.- 64
This fern is often eaten.
The black stripes, so noticeable in this species of fern, are doubtless responsible for its Fijian name—since loa means black. This form is also called the qaleseva. The ota-loa is found among other places in Bua Province, Vanua Levu. It grows best in woods and open spaces and is found quite near the coast, at a low altitude. It is in height from 1 foot to 2 or 3 feet. This is a medicinal fern, and in great favour, with the natives, who use the leaves made into a drink as a cure for indigestion and also as an adjunct with other plants, for various minor complaints. The young fronds are eaten by the natives.
A weed, which is now more frequently called de-ni osi, but when one remembers how comparatively recent was the introduction of horses into the Group, it seems fairly evident that either ovoku or ovuku, is an older name. It was much in favour as a cure for dysentry. They boiled the whole plant in sea-water and drank the water. “The longer it boils the stronger the medicine,” they say.
Bua. Also called the lutulutu, which see.
The qai is also sometimes known as the qui and masawe. In Hawaii it is known as the ki, and in Tahiti as the ti. The outer rind of the flower-stalk of this plant is considered to be useful for its anti-syphilitic properties, and the roots, macerated or chewed, for toothache.
The water in which leaves have been macerated and boiled is given to infants for infantile indigestion.
See also koukou. The natives in Bua Province say qato is a splendid cure for toothache. They chew the young shoots, and hold them in the mouth.- v
MEMOIR No. 16
Supplement to the Journal of the Polynesian Society.
FIJI PLANTS THEIR NAMES AND USES
INSTALMENT No. 5
- vi Page is blank- 65
This fern is also called the ota-loa, which see.
Trees or shrubs. The flowers are racemose and of reddish colour. Leaves opposite.
Has been often classified as a Phyllanthus, but Kew definitely puts it under Euphorbiaceae. Medicinal. See molou.
Small flowers. Calyx lobed. Known also as the Limona minuta. Leaves and bark pounded and boiled, and the water used in place of tea, said to be an excellent tonic, for debility, and for indigestion.
Small tree much branched. Flower 5 petals, 10 stamens. Leaves alternate. Fruit, fleshy drupes; grows in Macuata.
Same at lemaru-loa. Grows on rocks. The Fijians use the stem of this fern as a poultice, when suffering from strained back or limbs. It had also considerable repute for feverish symptoms; in that case they poured boiling water on the fronds, and drank the “tea.”
A creeper, found in Vanua Levu.
This is the “annatto” of commerce, and grows luxuriantly in the dry zone. There is a market for the seed, which is easy to prepare. The flowers are a pale rose colour, and are followed by reddish-brown capsules which contain the seeds.
This species of breadfruit has leaves with a bullate apppearance—the same as the ogo and kogo.
The qoliqoli is used to stupefy fish. The natives sometimes call it the tuva-kalou.- 66
Also called katakata, which see.
The leaves boiled in water for a drink are used as a cure for indigestion. This shrub grows wild throughout the Fiji Islands. It is grown on an industrial scale, for local bag manufacture, in Brazil, Cuba and Madagascar.
Indeed the Imperial Institute, when specimens of fibre-yielding plants were being examined by them, placed the Urena lobata among the best substitutes for jute.
A kind of kavika, the name given in Colo West.
Colo West name for the drau-ni-gata, which see.
This species of Acacia is frequently found in Talasiga country. The timber is hard, colour shades of yellow to dark brown. It is a good example of the phyllosinaceus acacia. From the qumu the old-time fighting Fijians used to get their black paint. It has been sagely remarked that the cosmetic properties of black paint are remarkably effective. So once again it is proved that the taukei (old inhabitants) knew what they were doing. The usual girth does not exceed
Commonly called “lemon-grass,” and used for stuffing cushions, as its perfume is said to keep away flies and mosquitoes. It is also regarded as a sure cure for headache, if a pillow of the dried grass is put under the head. Tea, also, is made from the leaves; it is said that it is better to throw away the first infusing-water, refill with boiling water, which may be drunk to advantage.
A pretty rose-coloured convolvulus, which is valued by Fijians for its medicinal vales. Same as wa-rabi.
Now called Erythrina speciosa. The flowers precede the leaves. The natives call it the red-rara—with good reason. Its spikes of red flowers are very attractive and add colour to the green bush.- 67
This herb rarely attains the size of a shrub. The flowers are small.
Much liked by the natives to scent their coconut oil. See uci.
Trees and shrubs. The flowers are often saffron-yellow, sometimes white, and even red.
Rewa name for the tivoli, which see.
Gillespie considered that it belonged to the Connaceae. But Prof. Record of the Yale School of Forestry assured Smith that the timber proved that it belonged to the Rubiaceae. Reiova is the Yanawai name.
Fine white mats can be made from the bark of this tree. Samoans call them “sialoa” and “jesina.”
In olden times these mats were thought so much of, that when they changed hands the history of the making was repeated with solemn unction. Small trees.
Also called cago. The Fijians say the root boiled in water, and the juice drunk is good as a cure for bladder trouble, retention of the urine, and cystitis.
In India the Curcuma longa (or domestica) is known as the kaha. Root is used for skin diseases, also sore eyes.
See vasa. Much valued by the natives in earlier times for its medicinal virtue.
Yellow flowers—pod two or three inches long in which the seeds rattle, hence the common name “rattle-pod.” Closes early, hence the settler's name “four o'clock.”- 68
The Samoans use this shrub extensively, for perfuming their oil, but it is apparently not much used in Fiji.
Also called the kaunisiga.
Also known as the draunigata and karokarokuro.
Botanists now use Symplocaceae as the order, in place of the older designation.
Also called dranu. The stem and leaves are broken up and boiled in water; this is an esteemed tonic. Kai Viti consider this a very good medicine “mate bula bula,” for debility—or any illness, or general weakness.
The native name may be translated the “butterfly's rest,” and it is truly wonderful to see the pretty winged visitants fly round or perch upon this seaside bush.
Called also evu and samusakirakakira.
Tree, fine timber—beautiful blue flowers. Grows to great height in the forests of Bua. Timber suitable for furniture, etc.
Also called savai, savairbulidamu, roqi and drudruga. This tree is buttressed and has reddish-brown bark. Sometimes attains the height of 70 feet. Timber is deep red, strong, and elastic.
The kawa or fish-trap is made from this round, strong vine; called in Kadavu, the rusa; also known as warusi, rusi and nakauwa. Has medicinal qualities, being a kind of sarsaparilla.- 69
Vanua Levu. (Yanawai and Mt. Kasi.)
This small tree is also known under the Fiji name of cavacava.
The flowers are white, the eight stamens are equal.
The leaves of this species of mistletoe yields a black dye—at one time much used to blacken cordage, etc. The flowers are tubed, of red colour with yellow at the base. Sometimes they are orange and green with purple inside. Often found on the ivi-tree (Inocarpus edulis).
Also called uci, which see. The sacasaca is a shrub or small tree which was formerly classified as the Zanthoxylum varians. The highly-scented four-meris flowers grow freely in Macuata, and are also called uci, under which name a further description is given of how the Fijians use it for perfume.
A glabrous shrub, of which the foliage is attractively variegated. The alternate leaves are entire, pinnately veined. The yellowish-green flowers are small, and grow on a long axillary, pendant spike. Known best as “Croton.” Of medicinal value, though poisonous.
Sathau. A large tree growing best in the wet zone.
This plant grows at sea-level, and is often found in mangrove-swamps. The corolla-tubes are crimson or coral-red, there are five stamens. Calyx-tubes have five oblong lobes, and there are two bracts. Sometimes the sagali attains to the height of a tree—15 to 20 feet, but is often only a shrub. The wood is hard, lasts long, and is in frequent use. Suva. Viti Levu.
This species grows best on rocks, and is found commonly in Bua Province.
Corolla has curved tube. Flowers are placed close together in bunches.- 70
This is an old native cure for toothache.
Another name for the viu, the big, fluted leaves of which are used for chief's fans. Were formerly tabu (the Fijian form of tapu) for commoners.
All the salatos are provided with hairs, which leave painful itching. Often the irritation continues for three months—and is always aggravated by water. The bark of the salato shrub is said to be a good cure for the sting of its nettle-like leaves.
This plant is called katakata in Colo West.
Black-stemmed variety. Sasaloa.
Its small white flowers are very conspicuous.
Found on sea beaches. Also called evu and roro-ni-bebe.
The Bua name.
Commonly goes by the name “wild-rubber” on account of the abundant latex, which flows easily and becomes gummy when exposed to the air.
See saloa.- 71
Small tree, with pinnate leaves.
This plant is called qiqila in Bua Province where it is used medicinally by the Fijians, who pound the leaves and bark and boil in water. This water is used in place of tea, and is said to be an excellent tonic. Remedy for debility and indigestion.
A pretty saganella.
Also known as yalewaninini. Fijians think that special virtue is found in ferns that grow in red earth (talasiga) and the women make a drink for themselves of this and other ferns, infusing the fronds in cold water over night—which they drink early next day. This is essentially a woman's drink.
This fungus grows on the decaying wood of the waloa.
Often known as the “looking-glass tree,” on account of the leaves having a fancied resemblance to a mirror. The timber is deep-red in colour, and is good, for it is very hard. It is found from sea-level up to three thousand feet altitude. Seemann gives the Fijian name “Kena ivi na alewa Kalou.” It has panicles of small flowers, and the leaves are elliptically oblong. Girth of trees about twelve feet. Sometimes attains the height of 70 feet. Called also rosoroso, roqi and drudruga.
A large tree, with simple trunk, milk-like sap. Leaves alternate, smooth. Fruit in the axils, with stalk; rather larger than a pea.
This tree is not very common, but found in many parts. It is a kavika and has white flowers, and large scented fruits, much beloved by native children, who will hang one of the fruits like a locket, on a liane, or bit of string, and feel very smart indeed.- 72
Sa. Very small white flowers. Tall tree. Fruit reddish-brown with spots—much the size of a kavika. The native children put them round their necks on a string, as they like the strong scent of the ripe fruit.
The native name for pawpaw (Mummy-apple) in Colo West, etc. Also known as maoli in Nadroga, and oleti throughout Fiji. As a remedy for neuralgia the inner bark of the root after being grated must be boiled in sea-water. The milky juice from the green pawpaw is extremely useful as a peptic as a remedy for dyspepsia.
One of the Bua names for the giant sage; known also as the laca, under which name it is even more valued. It has lavender-coloured labiate flowers, with purple bracts, and very aromatic leaves. A drink is made from the leaves, with boiling water—just as one would make tea. This is drunk either hot or cold, and is reputed to be a cure for headache, coughs and colds, and is even considered useful for all kinds of bladder and kidney-troubles. Sore eyes washed in this decoction are much relieved.
The Bua name for vunikutu.
This pretty pink-flowered creeper is sometimes called wavatu. sekau is a Bua name for it.
Commonly known as the candlenut, or in the vernacular as the qere, sikeci, lauci, tutui and toto. The wood is not durable, but the natives sometimes use it.
Flamboyante, or flame-tree. This very ornamental tree is grown in most Fijian villages. When in flower it is a very beautiful sight.
This fern-like lycopodium is often found in Colo West. It has procumbent stems, stiff leafage, bracts in pairs, and is very definitely on back of stems, which are woody.- 73
The leaves of this plant are taken together with those of the tumudi (Eclipta prostrata), and pounded make a good poultice, according to the Fijians, for wounds and sores.
Se-ni-kuila literally means flag-flower (banner). Roots smell like menthol. White flowers. Herbaceous, grows freely in open spaces. Fijians dry the flowering spikes for ornaments. This pretty little herb is certainly light enough to wave in the breeze like a flag, and possibly gained its name on that account. Root used for toothache and neuralgia.
A lovely creeper often to be seen in the vicinity of Mt. Rama, and other places in Viti Levu. It has waxy-white flowers, which grow in an umbel formation. Its Fijian name is best translated ivory-flower, as tabua, in this instance does not have any reference to whale's tooth, but is Fijian for “ivory,” and very well describes the creamy-white shade of this charming flower. See draubibi and bulibulisewaro.
Leaves deeply-serrated, oval, 3-5 nerved, the flowers are a deep crimson, or red. Blacking has been made from the astringent petals. Leaves have medicinal properties—though the kalanaisoni (H. diversifolius) has been more frequently used.
This orchid is found in Colo West. Same as bune. It is a beautiful magenta colour and usually grows on trees.
The Fijian name of this small trefoil means “rest.” Its presence on the rara (village green) saves weeding! The flowers are small, but very pretty—a pinkish-purple with a touch of yellow.
Kau-seleka and setamoli. It is used, with the leaves of quatema, to make tea, as a remedy for stomach-ache, and abdominal pains.- 74
A little river plant, found in Colo West.
The sequlu is very similar to the Rosa-sinensis. Very fine pink flowered petals, which are astringent.
Flowers greenish and the fruit yellow—shrub or tree. Its greenish flowers distinguish it from the Agatea violaris, which has whitish flowers, blotched with purple.
This plant is known as the kauseleka in Bua Province. Lakanikasa is another name for it.
A small tree with long-petioled, leathery leaves, green above and white underneath.
This is a large, buttressed tree—the wood is soft and white. It is also known as the solega. Leaves digitate, smell like ivy, when crushed.
The Vanua Levu name.
Another name for the Candlenut; generally listed as lauci. Also called toto. The trees are found almost everywhere. It grows to a moderate size. The leaves are very conspicuous, on account of the powdery whiteness of the undersides. The fruit has its uses as a dye. The oil is valuable but should be expressed in situ, as otherwise the freight is too expensive. Besides being in great request as a cure for neuralgic pains, an excellent black dye is made from this plant. It has tonic properties. The Fijians grate the bark and boil it in water till reduced about fifty per cent. It is called kukui in Hawaii and tutui in Tahiti.- 75
Commonly spoken of as “Job's Tears,” perhaps on account of the grey look of the seeds.
Another name for the kavikagaga.
This is a singularly beautiful shrub, with exquisitely-scented white flowers, succeeded by brilliant red berries. Fijians consider it a very valuable medicinal plant and use it both for outward application and as a sedative drink; the bark is used for poultices.
The sinugaga is so called in contradistinction to the sinudamu, because it is poisonous. The tree which sometimes is 60 feet high, is found in mangrove swamps or on dry ground above water level.
This shrub grows best by the sea, and probably it has obtained its native name, matiavi, from its preference for the litoral, for matiavi means “tidal,” and distinguishes this species of sinu from others. Its leaves and bark are in repute as a medicine.
It is a small tree, but very attractive, with bright red berries, succeeding the highly perfumed flowers, which are sweetest at night. The Fijians make a decoction from the leaves, which they say has sedative properties. The white flowers open very suddenly in March or a little later and they are a very beautiful sight on the creek sides.
The leaves and bark of stems, are used as a poultice, when well pounded—and are applied to sores, etc., as a painkiller. For- 76
internal use the outside of the roots is made into a medicinal drink. It is also used for an eye-wash.
Sinumoimoi is probably another name for the sinumatiavi, Daphue indica. Fijian women use it medicinally, especially to relieve abdominal pains.
A good shade-tree. Also in Vanua Levu called the masivau.
This small tree produces a remarkably black dye, and has been used instead of ink. It flowers practically all the year round.
Small trees or shrubs. Leaves sometimes serrated, more often entire. Flowers yellow, sometimes purplish. Drupes. Known as the mataitia, and haupa, in the Society Islands.
The native name for the large “Gros Michel” banana—Colo East and Upper Wainibuka.
A red flower, but according to the native description, like a jasmine in general appearance, with the exception of its colour.
Has a red slash when cut. Pinnate leaves. Tall trees. Young twigs covered with reddish tomentum.
This is the original Fiji banana. According to native tradition, the upright fashion of its fruit is due to its having been victorious over all other bananas. It is said to be almost insect proof.
Viti Levu name.
Vanua Levu. Small tree. Sykes says it is used for house building.- 77
Small tree, with soft wood, seldom grows to greater height than 25 feet.
Also called tomitomi and sosomi.
The legume (pod) is thorny, and contains yellow seeds. Is called the soni in the vernacular. The Caesalpinia Bonducella has the same characteristics as the C. Bonduc, except that the seeds in the spiny pod are grey in the former. In India the Caesalpinia Bonduc is called kumburuwel, and in that country the tender leaves are applied for toothache, and also given as a cure for children suffering from worms.
Rare in Fiji. (Merrill, Harvard University). The leaves are very leathery, and the flowers yellow. Found in Vanua Levu, (Bua Province).
Also called sequelu.
Also called tomitomi and somisomi. A pleasantly-acid fruit, about the size of a cherry.
A species of Gardenia. The flowers are white and very fragrant. The leaves are bright green and very long and narrow.
This kind of Solanus has a greenish fruit, which is used in soup or baked with yams.
In Bua Province this bind-weed is more often called tagica, because the leaves are said to cure the abrasions that are often made on a child's knees when learning to walk.
Saburo. The Fijian Mistletoe. Has a very pretty flower.- 78
The native name is rather a poetical conceit, for “Pigeon's milk” is surely a pretty way of describing this simple ground-orchid. It is found in woods, and has small, greenish-white flowers.
Same as botebotekoro, so called in Colo North and Bua. The leaves are boiled and the water drunk, by the Fijians, as a remedy for weak lungs and chest complaints.
This name seems to imply the trail of a snake—but the meaning is obscure.
One of the Colo West names for kavika.
In Kadavu, Macuata and part of Cakaudrove the dalo is so called, suli.
In Naitasiri and Rewa, it is called sulo.
A graceful little tree, very slender, rarely more than 30 feet high.
A variant of this name, in Colo West, is sawelula.
A sterile-leafed fern. Found in Vanua Levu at Uluingalo. Altitude between 2,000 and 2,500 feet. This fern is by no means rare. The fronds are often three or more yards long—the actual frond being about one-third of this length—the rest stipes.
Called also tabua-rere. The tabuarakalavo is found at Na Sinu, near Suva. Its Fijian name means “Sir Rat's tabua.” It is used for pains and aches under the arms—and the Fijians say that leaves made into a drink are good for pains in the lungs and chest. The bark is also scraped and made into a poultice for the same ailments. Though rather more of a tree, and with larger seeds, it is similar to the takala-levu.
This is apparently the same species described by Gillespie under the name of P. umbraticola, and he mentions it as being called by natives (n)doodle levu. A. Smith found his specimen in Cakaudrove, Vanua Levu. Gillespie says “flowers rare.” The fruits are wine-red and sometimes eaten by Fijians. A tall tree with small buttresses. Bark slightly fissured with big lenticels. When cut the slash is veige colour.
Leaves are large ovate exstipulate, young twigs covered with reddish tomentum. The strong stems are used for poling boats (canoes). This Fijian name signifies that the tide (voka) was forbidden (tabu) to go further. This seems to indicate that it is a tree growing on the litoral, but not in places overflowed by a rising tide.
Alu and waloa, are different names of this medicinal plant. Taga or Togo-bark is the name by which it is known for export.
A very pretty little convolvulus, of a bright pink, which grows freely in Vanua Levu, is called the tagica, and is in high repute for all sorts of wounds and abrasions, especially those of young children. The leaves are chewed, and laid on the sore place by the mother, and the Kai Viti say: “The tagica is good medicine for a crying,” a tagi means in their language “a cry,” and in this we can trace the Maori word tangi. The tagica (tangitha) flowers almost any time, especially between January and July in the dry zone, and in Bua district may be found twining among reeds and grass in any open space. The tagica grows also in Viti Levu—and a specimen found at Korovou, near Suva, had very pink flowers.- 80
This tree has cream flowers; from five to ten, in short panicles at apex of branches. Known by the Butha Bay natives as mbau (bau). Timber is useful for boat-building. Found in most parts of Vanua Levu.
The small and large varieties of the same species are known also as meme. Though takala-levu has been classed as Ervatamia obtusiucula, these plants slightly differ in the shape and size of their flowers, E. orientalis being narrower in the lobe and shorter in the tube.
This plant belongs to the most valued section of the sarsapillas, In Fiji the leaves are used as medicine. The takataka is a climbing, evergreen plant. Flowers in an umbel. Black fruit with three seeds. In Kadavu it is called nakauwa and the natives in Vanua Levu and Ovalau name it as kadragi and narusi.
Eaten in Nadroga, a white variety of fungus. Leathery.
Suguvanua, botebotekoro, and matamocemoce are other names for this plant.
This herbaceous plant is often used to relieve coughs and colds.
Tarau is only another name for tarawau. These trees grow to the height of fifty feet or sixty feet, have white flowers, tough and tasteless fruit, and flat branches. At one time connected with Fijian superstitions.
The fruit is edible—but not, perhaps, regarded with favour by Europeans. The timber is serviceable, but the girth of trees is not large.