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English name:
Paper Mulberry
Family name:
Scientific name:
Broussonetia papyrifera
Introduced by
Polynesian Introduction
Eastern Asia

See Also...



Thrives well in places along streams, in woods, hollows or uneven grounds, in dry taro patches, in moist land where water flows. It is a species of the Hawaiian wet forests.


Leaves: It is a tree or shrub up to 50 ft. tall, with heart-shaped and finely serrated lobed leaves with long petioles (stalks). Mature leaves of wauke are coarse and thick, with a texture like sandpaper. Hawaiians recognize a form called po`a`aha that has softer mature leaves , with velvety texture and rounded form.
Flowers: Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. The female flowers form round heads, about 1 inch in diameter, fuzzy with long stigmas and hairy bracts.
Fruit: Fruit is 1 inch in diameter, round and orange.



In Hawaii, tapa (kapa) was made from wauke which was their primary clothing (skirts, capes, loin cloths, sandals) and for bed clothes, (being washable, warm, flexiblre durable and resistant to water). The bark cloth (kapa) that was made by Hawaiians bore unique features. First, the Hawaiians beat the fibers with beaters that had designs carved into them, this would leave a watermark on the cloth. Second, they used colors not found on other kapa, reds, blues, pink, green, and yellow. Most other cultures focused on just brown and black. Finally, the Hawaiians used very uniform geometric designs with the bamboo printers.

The sap is used medicinally as laxative. Ashes from burned tapa was used as medicine for `ea (thrush). Strips of coarse tapa were worn around a nursing mother's neck for milk flow. A Hawaiian legend about Hina and her tapa making. The sun always hurried across and did not allow Hina's tapa to dry. So her son, Maui went to sunrise and caught the sun's first ray and broke it off. Ever since the sun has traveled slowly allowing Hina's tapa to dry. Today, tapa making that uses wauke, is a thriving industry in Samoa, where tapa is known as siapo. In Hawaii, wauke is rare and the tapa industry is almost non existent.


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Last Modified: 14-Dec-2010 13:23 HST