Tropical Gardening: Canoe plants are the foundation of the Polynesian culture
When the first Polynesians arrived in the Hawaiian Islands, there were no coconut palms here. There were no mountain apple, breadfruit, kalo and many other plants we think of as Hawaiian. If you think that kukui, bananas, and ti are natives and seem to grow easily, then it is time to rethink! These plants are alien, nonnative species brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians as they migrated across Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean. These are referred to as canoe plants. They were important to their survival, especially when Polynesians explored new islands and found those like Hawaii lacked the variety of fruits and medicinal plants they needed.