Hawaiian Name(s): ‘aka‘akai, kaluhā, naku, neki, nānaku

Scientific Name: Schoenoplectus lacustris

Vernacular Name: great bulrush

Family: Cyperaceae

Status: indigenous

Authority: L. (Palla)

Description: Perennials, 70-300 cm tall.

Habitat Occurring in fresh and saltwater marshes, 0–1220 m on most main islands (Wagner et al. 1990:1432).

Medicines: The root is used with green kukui fruit and flowers (Aleurites moluccana), ripe noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia), and ke kea (white sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum) for treating ‘opu‘aki hikoko (stomach or intestinal ailments, and internal hemorrhaging) (Chun 1994:19–20).

Non Medicinal Uses: The stems were used for making floor mats which were replaced frequently and often served as the bottom one or two layers of matting to prevent the more valued lauhala mats from being ground against the pebble floor (Abbott 1992:73); used as mulch (Chun 1994:19)

Specific gravity of wood: unknown

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau:

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau:

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information: Native Plants Hawaii.

Seed: Seed length approximately 2.2 mm. Photograph: B.Kennedy.
Click for image