Skip to content
Upcoming Pop Ups - Save the date | Kona Loft @ Kailua-Kona July 13 • 11a - 3p | Mom Made Market @ Kahala Mall July 20
Upcoming Pop Ups - Save the date | Kona Loft @ Kailua-Kona July 13 • 11a - 3p | Mom Made Market @ Kahala Mall July 20
Kakou Collective x Live Aloha Festival - Lāʻau Lapaʻau

Kakou Collective x Live Aloha Festival - Lāʻau Lapaʻau

We are so excited for our upcoming *first* out-of-state event of the year, the Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival in Seattle! If you missed our post on this amazing festival, check it out here!
This year, we had the honor of designing the artwork featured at the event. We are excited to finally share about this project! The theme for this year’s art is Lāʻau Lapaʻau. Lāʻau Lapaʻau refers to plants that were used medicinally and for healing. The plants that are going to be featured in the Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival art will be: Ko‘oko‘olau, Mamaki, Kī, and Kukui.
We had so much fun designing this and wanted to share a bit about why each of these lāʻau lapaʻau are so special:

live aloha festival kakou collective


Ko‘oko‘olau refers to any one of the nineteen Bidens species in the sunflower family. This endemic plant not only makes for a pretty shrub, but it has valuable medicinal qualities! Hawaiians used the leaves and vibrant yellow flowers of Ko‘oko‘olau bushes to prevent strokes, diabetes, aid with gastrointestinal issues, and even help with asthma! To this day, Ko‘oko‘olau tea is sold commercially as revitalizing healthy beverage. It’s said that when mixed with Mamaki, the appetite-stimulating qualities of Ko‘oko‘olau tea are boosted! Depending on the varietal, Ko‘oko‘olau can be found on the north side of Oahu’s Waianae Mountains range, the leeward slopes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island, or on Molokai and West Maui.


Mamaki, (Pipturus spp.), is a native Hawaiian nettle species. Mamaki plants are shrubs or small trees, and are found naturally all over the Hawaiian Islands with exception of Kahoʻolawe and Niʻihau. This lāʻau lapaʻau has recently gained mainstream popularity, even outside Hawaii. It has a delicious mild flavor when brewed as a tea, and more beverage companies are catching on to the Mamaki hype. Industry leaders are even calling it Hawaii’s next big export crop since our state is the main place where Mamaki is grown! Mamaki fruit can be used to treat thrush, and tea brewed from its leaves are used to treat a ‘general run-down feeling’ – no joke! Who wouldn’t want a yummy caffeine-free pick me up to sip on?


Kī, (Cordyline fruticose), is probably the most well-known of our lāʻau lapaʻau. More commonly known as Ti leaf, this lāʻau lapaʻau is one of the twenty-four ‘canoe plants’ that were initially brought to Hawaii by Polynesian voyagers. And it’s no wonder to see why they brought it! This plant does it all! In ancient times, kī leaves were used to thatch roofs and were even made into sandals. Today, leaves are still used as an alternative to aluminum foil to wrap food before cooking. The sweet roots were either baked as a dessert or boiled and distilled into a liquor known as ‘okolehao. Kī flowers were used to treat asthma and a poultice made from kī leaves were used to break fevers. Kī is considered sacred to the Hawaiian god, Lono, and the goddess of hula, Laka. In Hawaiian culture, there is a strong spiritual connection associated with this plant. Kī is often planted around the edges of properties not only to mark the land, but also to ward off spirits surrounding a home.


Kukui, (Aleurites molucana), is another extremely useful ‘canoe plant’ brought to the islands by Polynesian settlers. Kukui nuts, sometimes called ‘candlenuts,’ were used as torches when placed in the hull of a bamboo stalk and burned. Also, the meat of the kukui seed is delicious, and is still used today in a popular poke topping called ‘inamona. The lightweight wood of the kukui tree was often used to make fish floats or canoes. Of course, kukui is also a lāʻau lapaʻau. The flowers, nuts, bark, and leaves of the kukui tree were used as laxatives and fresh leaves were
useful for poultices. Pounded nuts were even used as the base for a salve to cure sores and external ulcers. It’s no wonder early voyagers brought this handy plant along with them on their travels!

We hope you learned something new and interesting about these amazing lāʻau lapaʻau! If you will be in the Seattle area September 9 or 10, please stop by the Festival and say aloha to us! We would love to chat and say mahalo in person for being part of the Kākou Collective Hui!

Hope to see you there! A hui hou! (Until next time)

Mahalo to the resources that were used for this article:
1. Bishop Museum. “Online Database.” Bishop Museum - Ethnobotany Database, Bishop Museum,
2. Chan, Kathy. “THE CANOE PLANTS OF HAWAII.” Onolicious Hawaiʻi, 21 Aug. 2020, 
3. “Guide to Selected Plants of the Māla Lā‘au Lapa‘au.” Department of Native Hawaiian Health , John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Accessed 28 Aug. 2023. 
4. Heaton, Thomas. “This Ancient Hawaiian Plant’s Popularity Has Soared. Not Everyone Is Pleased.” Honolulu Civil Beat, 6 Feb. 2022, 
5. “Hui Ku Maoli Ola - Transforming Land Back To ‘Āina.” Hui Ku Maoli Ola Native Plant Nursery, Hui Ku Maoli Ola,
6. “Kihene Kookoolau Tea.” Nā Mea Hawaiʻi, Accessed 27 Aug. 2023. 
7. “Kī (Ti).” Plants, Mānoa Heritage Center, 22 Feb. 2023, 
8. “Ko`oko`olau (Bidens Amplectens).” Environmental Conservation Online System, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Accessed 27 Aug. 2023. 
9. “Ko’oko’olau (Bidens Spp.).” Tropical Self Sufficiency, 26 Feb. 2018, 
10. “Mamaki Tea.” Maui Medicinal Herbs, Accessed 27 Aug. 2023. 
11. Sakovich, Nick. “Medicinal Teas of Hawaii: Mamaki and Ko’oko’olau.” Medicinal Teas of Hawaii: Mamaki and Ko’oko’olau, Garden Guy Hawaii, 7 Aug. 2021, 
12. “Ti Leaf: Canoe Plant of Ancient Hawai‘i.” Big Island Now, 4 Aug. 2016,
Previous article The Ultimate Guide to our 2023 Holiday Pop Ups
Next article How to subscribe on Instagram

Fun Fact: 90% of what we create is produced in the heart of Honolulu. Anything that isnʻt has an ʻāina friendly factor.

Shop Now + Support Local Makers