Photograph - Photographic Print
The 'Ulu is one of the 'canoe plants' brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the ancient Hawaiians. The plants brought were those considered to be the most important food sources. This distinctively attractive food-bearing tree produces abundantly from late summer into winter. The `ulu (fruit) grows on a smooth gray-barked tree that may attain heights of 40 to 60 feet. The breadfruit tree is easily recognized by its bright dark-green leathery palmate or ruffled leaves, which are deeply lobed and can be up to three feet long. The branches reach out to a span of 30 to 60 feet. The trees are usually found at elevations lower than 1000 feet. Coming upon a grove of these large trees usually signifies an area of ancient settlement and cultivation in this mother nation Hawai`i. The trees produce round, fruits with a pebbly skin that can be cooked to make many dishes or can be dried and ground into flour. 'Ulu can be steamed, baked, boiled, fried, marinated or stir-fried.
The wood of the tree's trunk is light in weight. Hawai`i's craftsmen used it for making canoes, woodwork for homes, drums, surfboards and for papa kui`ai or poi boards. A low grade tapa cloth was made from the inner bark of young branches. The rough sheath, maloulu, was used as a dry abrasive in the final polishing of bowls and utensils. It was also used to sand kukui/candlenut before they were strung into lei.
Hawai`i mythology tells us that the `ulu fruit is the symbol of the creation, and of the generosity of a loving and abundantly providing creator. Traditionally, `ulu is planted to provide a life-time of food at the birth of a child; these children are considered keiki `o ka `aina, a child of the land. In one famous legend, the god Ku, fell in love with a human woman, married her, and raised a family. During a time of terrible famine, he transformed himself into a breadfruit tree to feed his family. The small root shoots that grew from the tree were spread to family and friends and the source of all ‘ulu trees in the islands.
'Ulu leaf designs are often used in Hawai`i's quilt patterns and are printed in various ways on modern-day fabrics, used in logos, ceramics and upon other goods.
A fascinating thing about 'Ulu is that it cannot reproduce without direct cultivation by humans. The fruit produces no seeds. New trees much be propagated by root cuttings. This speaks to the trees being a truly ancient human food source and the long-cultivation by people's throughout the Pacific.
Featured in the following FAA group galleries:
* Just Perfect
* Positive Energy
* Colors Blue Turquoise Photography & Paints
* Your Story of Art
June 27th, 2020
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