KŌ (Hawaiian Sugarcane) - Maui Ocean Center
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KŌ (Hawaiian Sugarcane)

Kō (Hawaiian Sugarcane)

Common name: Hawaiian Sugarcane

Status: Canoe Plant

Scientific name: Saccharum officinarum

Where to Find: cultivated more commonly in lowland environments 

  There are close to 100 varieties of kō found within the Hawaiian islands.  Ancient stories were told about collectors going through the island chain to gather specific ones, each varietal having a unique name and use. The main use was for food, it was also utilized many other ways including hana aloha (love magic) and ‘apu kōheoheo (one type of sorcery). 

       The fact that this plant was brought to Hawai’i by Polynesians is overshadowed because of the overwhelming impact of sugarcane plantations, production, and labor force. This is one of the plants that contributed to the multicultural background that we have in Hawai’i today.

Did You Know?
The conversion from domestic consumption to large scale plantations of sugarcane resulted in the loss of extensive natural resources and cultural histories.