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Santalum freycinetianum

[syn. Santalum freycinetianum var. freycinetianum]
ʻIliahi or Forest sandalwood
Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands (Oʻahu only)
ʻAiea Loop Trail, Oʻahu; a small leaved & fruited form of a smaller than normal tree.

The Hawaiian name lāʻau ʻala literally means "sweet wood" or "fragrant wood." Though early Hawaiians may not have used ʻiliahi wood extensively, it was still valued. Besides used as firewood, the light yellow wood was sometimes used to make ʻūkēkē or musical bow.

Medicinally, the leaves were used as a shampoo for dandruff and head lice; and a drink from powdered material for male and female sex organs or "for sores of long duration."

The fragrant heartwood and bark of ʻiliahi was pounded to scent the smell of new kapa (tapa), and when added with coconut oil the would water proof the material.

One older source (Charles Gaudichaud,1819) states that Hawaiians "used all fragrant plants, all flowers and even colored fruits" for lei making. The red or yellow were indicative of divine and chiefly rank; the purple flowers and fruit, or with fragrance, were associated with divinity. Because of their long-standing place in oral tradition, the leaves, new leaves (liko) and flowers of ʻiliahi were likely used for lei making by early Hawaiians, even though there are no written sources.


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