Tropical Gardening: The first Hawaiians brought bananas for survival

Healthy banana plants are attractive as well as useful for food, fiber, dyes and even medicine. (Voltaire Moise/courtesy photo)

When the first Polynesians arrived in the Hawaiian Islands, there were very few plants that were of use as edible or medicinal. Initially they probably lived on what could be taken from the sea like limu, fish, vana, opihi, squid, octopus and sea slugs, just to mention a few. Of course, many birds flourished on the land. They and their eggs were fair game as well.