ALB's Nature Journal

Aloha! Welcome to ALB's Nature Journal. I hope that this site will become useful for both you and I. Throughout the spring 2006 semester, I hope to become excited and intreged about the world of science. I look forward to this class sparking an interest in this field and help me to learn new fun and enjoyable ways of teaching science.

Monday, April 03, 2006

DA KUKUI


Last night I was eating Poke with inamona (ground kukui nuts) and I was curious as to what else the Kukui nut tree is used for?

The kukui nut tree or the candlenut tree (Aleurites molucanna) is native to Asia, it has been spread by people thought the tropical Pacific because its seeds are rich in oil. The valuable oil expressed from seeds is used as a light source and as a mild cathartic. Seeds are strung together and burned like a candle.

The seeds of candlenut contains about 50 percent oil. The ancient Polynesians brought this tree to the Hawaiian Islands where it has become naturalized. The Polynesians also used them for candles and extracted the oil for many other uses: to shine and waterproof wooden bowls, to mix with charcoal to make black canoe paint, to burn as torches, and to burn in stone lamps for light.

The nuts can not be eaten raw because they contain a strong purgative. Roasted seeds are eaten, but only in small quantities because of the laxative effect (which could be used as medicine). Inamona is made when roasting the nut, pounding them into a paste that is mixed with salt. Nuts are also polished and made into shiny dark brown or black bracelets and lei.

According to the United States National Herbarium, the official state tree of Hawaii is the kukui nut. Unlike the state flower, Hawaii's official state tree is not native to the Hawaiian Islands. The kukui nut was legislated in 1959 because of its historical significance in the colonization of Hawaii by native Polynesians.

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