Hawaiian Name(s): wauke, po‘a‘aha

Scientific Name: Broussonetia papyrifera

Vernacular Name: paper mulberry

Family: Moraceae

Status: Polynesian introduction

Authority: L.

Description: Shrubby trees up to 5 m tall.

Habitat B. papyrifera is sparingly naturalized and persists after cultivation along water courses (streams, auwai, etc.) in mesic valleys, between 15–750 m, on all main islands (Wagner et al. 1990:924).

Medicines: Wauke shoots are used to treat ‘ea and pa‘ao‘ao in adults. The young shoots are eaten, followed by mature niu (coconut, Cocos nucifera), a piece of broiled kalo (taro, Colocasia esculenta), and water. As purgative, wauke malolo is mixed with niu water and the liquid from a broiled and cooked ipu‘aiwaha (watermelon, Citrullus lanatus) (Chun 1994:253–254).

Non Medicinal Uses: Preferred source of fibers for making kapa (Abbott 1992: 50–52; Krauss 1993:60; Pang 1992). Kapa used for clothing (malo, pau, kihei) as well as blankets (Abbott 1992:49; Malo 1951:48); and burial coverings (Krauss 1993:121). In addition, pieces of kapa used in a multitude of ways: as decoration on ipu headgear (Abbott 1992:116), sewn as borders on feathered capes and cloaks (Krauss 1993:73–74), made into balls for games (Krauss 1993:91); used for hiding sticks in games (Krauss 1993:92–93), used as flags or banners on heiau (Abbott 1992:17), as wicks in lamps (Abbott 1992:77), for kite tails (Krauss 1993:89), coverings on uliuli (hula rattles) (Krauss 1993:82), tied as loop handles on ipu heke (gourd drums) (Krauss 1993:83), as bandages (Krauss 1993:102), and in making holua (sleds) (Abbott 1992:130). The raw bark was twisted or beaten into cordage (Summers 1990:67–68). In the Ethnology Collection at Bishop Museum there are examples of cordage made of twisted wauke.

Specific gravity of wood: unknown

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau:

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau: Kāne.

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information: Transplant root suckers (Nagata 1992).