Mystery of Hauhau Tree resolved

Thomas Lammers lammers at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU
Thu Feb 10 17:29:45 CST 2000

At 04:21 PM 2/10/00 -0500, you wrote:

>Hauhau is Triumfetta semitriloba. This plant was on the island thousands
>of years before the Polynesians arrived.

It makes sense.  Arriving in their new homeland, they gave it a name of a
familiar plant that looks similar and produces a similar product.  We did
it a lot in the New World and Australia.  Why the reduplicative, I don't
know; that usually expresses superlatives in Polynesian ("VERY
hau").  Maybe the cordage of hauhau is superior to that of hau?

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:                     lammers at
phone (office):         920-424-7085
phone (herbarium):  920-424-1002
fax:                         920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                 -- Anonymous

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