Hawaiian Name(s): pia

Scientific Name: Tacca leontopetaloides

Vernacular Name: Polynesian arrowroot

Family: Taccaceae

Status: Polynesian introduction

Authority: (L.) Kuntze

Description: Perennial herbs forming a tuber.

Habitat Occasionally cultivated but long naturalized in disturbed areas such as grassy slopes and mesic valley floors from 3–330 m (Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Maui, Hawai‘i, maybe others?) (Wagner et al. 1990:1613–1614).

Medicines: Pia is a secondary ingredient to treat ho‘opapailua lua‘i (nausea) and lua‘i mau ( continual vomiting). The green leaves of ha‘a are gathered and eaten. Once chewed into a fine mash and swallowed, four lumps of pia are mixed with water and drunk. This will end nausea and vomiting (Chun 1994:72). It is also noted as a secondary ingredient in many other medicines (see other plants).

Non Medicinal Uses: Cultivated for its starchy tubers (Krauss 1993:8,15).

Specific gravity of wood: n/a

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau:

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau:

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information: (Handy et al. 1972:183).