Hala

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Pandanus tectorius [Freycinetia]
Found naturally in Hawaii and other Pacific islands as well as Australia

Hala is a small tree, ten to twenty feet tall, with long, narrow leaves–three to six feet or more yet only a few inches wide–and distinctive "prop roots" that arise from the trunk or lower branches. It was of great use to the Hawaiians, and while hala may have arrived in Hawaii on its own, it's very likely that ancestral plants were also brought here in voyaging canoes.

Hala is generally a coastal plant, but may also be found inland. Its range extends to 2000-feet, though its uncommon at higher elevations. Hala may grow by itself, but it's often found in groves.

The long leaves were, and still are, used to weave mats, canoe sails, baskets, and many other items. It is the leaves that are called lau hala, thus we have lau hala mats, while the tree itself is called hala.

Hala is also known as pandanus, or screw pine.

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