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‘Awapuhi kuahiwi

The ‘awapuhi kuahiwi ( Zingiber zerumbet ) is part of the Zingiberaceae (ginger family). Some of its common names are pinecone ginger, shampoo ginger, and ` awapuhi kuahiwi (Hawaiian). It's native to Southeast Asia, but it is now widely cultivated in tropical areas all around the world. In Hawaii, the native Hawaiians used the juice from the blossom as shampoo for their hair.

The `awapuhi kuahiwi grows in a garden located on the north side of the Social Science Building.
Photo by Vairea Kahanulaniali'i Peneku © 2004


The scientific name for the cycad (sago palm) is Cycas revoluta , and it comes from the Cycadaceae family. Cycads are one of the oldest and most primitive types of plants. They flourished during the end of the Triassic period and the beginning of the Jurassic period. That makes them about 200 million years old. It's no doubt why they call them the “living fossil.”

The stem of the cycad contains poisonous chemicals. It is probably one of the reasons why it has survived for so many years.

The cycads are located by the Natural Science Building.
Photos by Alyssah K. Vierra