Friday, March 19, 2010

It's a Pineapple -- or is it?

This is the fruit of a hala tree at the Place of Refuge on the Big Island of Hawaii. The fruit looks like a pineapple but it's not.  The leaves are the part of the tree that is most well-known. These are the leaves that are used to weave everything from bracelets to mats to hats and more. This kind of weaving is called lauhala.  It has been practiced from ancient times and today there is even a Lauhala Weaving Conference on the Big Island where you can learn to weave everything from a beginner bracelet to an intricate hat.  There is a great reference online that tells you about the tree, how to prepare the leaves and how to do the actual weaving. 

The tree itself is unusual because it has aerial roots that spring out of the trunk and go down to the ground making like a fort around the trunk. It's so different it's hard to miss.

For more information about the Place of Refuge, which is now a national park, you can click here.


sonja said...

great entry Kathy! did ya know that the dried fruit of the hala tree were used as paint brushes in tapa making, the paper cloth, usually mulberry, the Hawaiians used before they were introduced to cloth by missionaries and sailors.

Kathy said...

Thanks, Sonja. Didn't know about the paint brushes but I did see some dried fruit on the ground. I should have looked at them a bit closer. I suppose that's all they had. And if you're creative, you find a way to express it.

Sorry Peaches hasn't come back yet...