Hawaiian Name(s): ‘ie‘ie, ‘ie

Scientific Name: Freycinetia arborea

Vernacular Name: none

Family: Pandanaceae

Status: indigenous

Authority: Gaudich.

Description: Woody climbers on trees, rocks, or sprawling on ground.

Habitat Occuring most often in mesic to wet forest, commonly on exposed ridges and slopes between 300-1500 m on most main islands (Wagner et al. 1990:1478–1479).

Medicines: For the treatment of ‘ea and pa‘ao‘ao. Part of plant near leaf bud is combined , kukui flowers (Aleurites moluccana), ‘ōhi‘a ‘ai bark (Syzygium malaccense), ‘ala‘ala wai nui pehu stems (Peperomia spp.), root bark from ‘uhaloa (Waltheria indica), and kō kea (white sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum).‘Ie‘ie leaf buds are also combined with clays, ‘ala‘ala wai nui pohina (Plectranthus parviflorus), and kukui bark. To bring on sleep when there is pain/burning/swelling of the chest, leaves and leaf buds of the ‘ie‘ie and ‘ape ke‘oke‘o leaves (Alocasia macrorrhizos and/or Xanthosoma robustum) are placed in the sleeping area, and slept on by the patient (Chun 1994:96–98).

Non Medicinal Uses: Offering at hula altars (kuahu) for Lauka‘ie‘ie (Emerson 1909:19; Pukui 1942). Used in basketmaking (Abbott 1992:105); roots used to make low circular fish traps ; roots used for framework of helmets and feather capes, where feathers were attached (Krauss 1993:76) ; leaves/roots used to make handle of ‘uli‘uli (single-gourd/coconut rattle) (Krauss 1993:81).

Specific gravity of wood: unknown

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau: E ‘imi wale no i ka lua o ka ‘uwa‘u ‘a‘ole e loa‘a. Seek as you will the burrow of the ‘uwa‘u, it cannot be found. A boast of one's skill in lua fighting, of the depth of one's knowledge, or of a skill that isn't easily aquired. A play on lua, a burrow, a pit, or an art of fighting. The burrow of the ‘uwa‘u bird is often deep. Birdcatchers inserted a piece of the aerial root of the ‘ie‘ie, gummed at one end, to catch the fledglings.

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau:

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information: Native Plants Hawaii.

Seed: Seed length approximately 7 mm. Photograph: H.Lennstrom.
Click for image