Multimedia Resources for Ethnobotany Curriculum
Recollection of a Family Tradition
Hawaiians developed a unique, exceptional, and outstanding craftsmanship in creating their featherwork with the use of endemic birds with different feather colors. Dr. Isabella Aiona Abbott, G. P. Wilder Emeritus Professor of Botany, recalls the demonstration of this family tradition by her great uncle in the mountains near Lahaina, island of Maui when she was a young child. He showed her how the birds were trapped with a sticky substance (e.g., sap of pāpala kēpau (Pisonia spp., family Nyctaginaceae). After the required feathers removed, the bird’s feet were rubbed with kukui nut oil (Aleurites moluccana) to remove the sticky substance, and then the bird was released.
- David Strauch and David Reedy
Abbott, I. A. 1992. Lā`au Hawai`i: Traditional Hawaiian Uses of Plants. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, pages 105-110.