Pisonia umbellifera (J. R. & G. Forst.) Seem.

Pisonia umbellifera

Distribution:

Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Rarotonga
Fiji: Aiwa, Koro, Ovalau, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Yagasa
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, O’ahu
Samoa: Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Tonga: ‘Eua

local names:

daiga – Fiji
papala – Hawai’i Islands
papala kepau – Hawai’i Islands
para para – Cook Islands
raro – Vanua Levu / Fiji
roro – Vanua Levu / Fiji

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 2. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1981

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Pteropus tonganus Quoy & Gaimard

Tongan Fruit-Bat (Pteropus tonganus)

The Tongan Fruit-Bat occurs with several subspecies in an area that stretches from New Guinea to the Cook Islands in Central Polynesia, whereby the form, that can be found in Polynesia, represents the nominate race.

These animals reach a wing span of more than one metre and spend the day more or less sleeping in roosting trees, where they sometimes form giant colonies.

In most parts of its geographic range the species is an important source of protein and is therefore heavily hunted, but also because the Fruit-Bats, being frugivores, can cause enormous damages in fruiting trees. Hence the species has become rare in some parts of its geographic range, in others it has even disappeared completely.

In the Kingdom of Tonga in contrast Tongan Fruit-Bats are considered as property of the royal family and therefore are protected from hunting – a very effective protection.

On the Cook Islands, the eastern most edge of its distribution area, the Tongan Fruit-Bat is called moa kirikiri, which means ‘leather chicken’. On the Fijian Islands it is called beka, bekua (in the west part of Viti Levu), beka dina or doli (on Kadavu).

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References:

[1] Jorge M. Palmeirim; Alan Champion; Alivereti Naikatini, Jone Niukula; Marika Tuiwawa; Martin Fisher; Mere Yabaki-Gounder; Sólveig Thorsteinsdóttir; Stanley Qalovaki; Thomas Dunn: Distribution, Status, and Conservation of Bats in the Fiji Islands. Oryx 41(4): 509-519. 2006

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Photo: Dr. Paddy Ryan; by courtesy of Dr. Paddy Ryan

http://www.ryanphotographic.com

Malaisia scandens (Lour.) Planch.

Malaisia scandens

Distribution:

Fiji: Aiwa, Lakeba, Malolo, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Waya
Tonga: ‘Eua

local names:

aumica – Taveuni / Fiji

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 2. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1981

Pandanus tectorius Parkinson ex Du Roi

Screw Pine (Pandanus tectorius)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Maria, Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Takutea, Tongareva
Fiji: Aiwa, Dravuni, Fulaga, Gau, Kadavu, Koro, Lakeba, Laucala, Mabualau, Makaluva, Matamanoa, Matuku, Moala, Monuriki, Nagigia, Namenalala, Namuka, Nananu, Nasoata, Naviti, Nayau, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Qamea, Rotuma, Solkope, Taveuni, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatoa, Vatulele, Viti Levu, Wayasewa, Yanucalailai, Yanucalevu
Gambier Islands: Agakauitai, Akamaru, Aukena, Kamaka, Makapu, Makaroa, Mangareva, Manui, Mekiro, Taravai
Hawai’i Islands: Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu
Kiribati: Flint Island, Karoraina, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra Atoll, Tabuaeran, Teraina
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno, Pitcairn Island
Samoa: Apolima, ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Manono, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Mai’ao, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Motu Nono, Motu Puuru, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: Alakipeau, ‘Ata, ‘Eua, Fafa, Foa, Fukave, Kao, Makaha’a, Malinoa, Manima, Maninita, Monuafe, Motutapu, Mounu, Niuatoputapu, Nuku, Oneata, Onevai, Onevao, Pangaimotu, Polo’a, Tafahi, Tau, Tofua, Toketoke, Tongatapu, Tufaka, ‘Uiha, ‘Uta Vava’u, Velitoa Hahake, Velitoa Hihifo
Tuamotu Archipelago: Akiaki, Anaa, Aratika, Hao, Katiu, Makatea, Makemo, Manihi, Mataiva, Morane, Mururoa, Napuka, Niau, Nukutepipi, Rangiroa, Raroia, Tahanea, Taiaro, Takapoto, Takaroa, Takume, Tatakoto, Temoe, Tikehau, Tikei, Toau, Vahitahi
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Nanumanga, Nanumea, Niulakita, Niutao, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Faioa, Fenua Fo’ou, Futuna, Nukuatea, Nukuloa, Nukutapu, ‘Uvea

local names:

‘ara – Aitutaki / Cook Islands
‘ara pepe – ‘Atiu, Ma’uke / Cook Islands
‘ara-ta’atai – Rarotonga / Cook Islands
‘ara-tai – ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro / Cook Islands
balawa – Fiji
draudreka – Fiji
fa – Niue; Tonga
fa’a mei – Marquesas
fa feutu – Niue
fa fi – Niue
fa ivi – Niue
fala – Samoa
falavao – Olohega / Tokelau
fala vao – Tokelau
fara – Manihiki, Palmerston, Rakahanga / Cook Islands; Tupai / Society Islands; Raroia / Tuamotu Archipelago
fara moa – Tahiti / Society Islands
fara moua – Tahiti / Society Islands
fara uteute – Tahiti / Society Islands
fasa – Samoa
hala – Hawai’i Islands
hala kilipaki – Hawai’i Islands (spineless clone)
hara – Tongareva / Cook Islands
hat – Rotuma / Fiji
hata – Rotuma / Fiji
hosoa – Rotuma / Fiji
kiakia – Rotuma / Fiji
kie – Tonga (spineless clone)
lau fala – Samoa (spineless clone)
pandana – Palmerston / Cook Islands
pu hala – Hawai’I Islands
sa’aga – Rotuma / Fiji
te kaina – Kiribati
teou – Nui / Tuvalu
teto – Nui / Tuvalu
tima – Raroia / Tuamotu Archipelago
uea – Tupai / Society Islands
vadra – Fiji
varawa – Fiji
voivoi – Fiji
wala – Nassau, Pukapuka / Cook Islands

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The Screw Pine is a geographically widespread and exceptionally morphologically variable species (or maybe a species complex). In the Polynesian region this plant is found almost everywhere, except for climatically inappropriate areas like New Zealand or Rapa Nui.

The Screw Pine was once one of the most important plants for the Polynesians, and Screw Pine saplings, together with saplings of Breadfruit Trees, Coconut Palms, Taro and several others, were transported by the Polynesian settlers on their boats during inter-island migration – to be planted out at their new island homes.

The Polynesians, over time, reared numerous cultivars, among them such whose leaves are lacking spines on their margins, and which therefore are very well-suited for weaving.

The exceptional variability of the wild and cultivated forms lead to the description of countless species, subspecies and varieties. So, Harold St. John alone described in his “Revision of the Genus Pandanus” various female plants as distinct species – in many cases from geographically very localized populations. In a biological sense, all of these ‘species’ are part of the same population, and furthermore, it is impossible to designate male plants to such ‘species’.

Some of the morphologically distinct forms that are seemingly restricted to the higher elevations of larger islands, like Pandanus papenooensis H. St. John on Tahiti or Pandanus temehaniensis J. W. Moore on Ra’iatea, are often still referred to as distinct species.

(I personally, however, see all of these forms as Pandanus tectorius.)

Nevertheless, the genus is in urgent need of a proper revision!

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As already mentioned, in virtually all parts of Polynesia the leaves were and are used for weaving, among other things, for elaborate mats, especially in Tonga, or boat sails (in former times on the Hawai’i Islands), right up to roofs and walls of houses (!). The stilt roots were used, for example, on the Cook Islands, for house building (as abutment walls) too.

The fruits are fruit heads comprising an aggregate of many tightly bunched phalanges or drupes that are edible. In some cultivars, these drupes reach the size of an apple. They are eaten especially in parts of Kiribati, Tokelau, and in Tuvalu.

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References:

[1] Sven Buerki; Martin W. Callmander; Dion S. Devey; Lauren Chappell; Timothy Gallaher; Jérôme Munzinger; Thomas Haevermans Félix Forest: Straightening out the screw-pines: A first step in understanding phylogenetic relationships within Pandanaceae. Taxon 61(5): 1010-1020. 2012
[2] Timothy Gallaher; Martin W. Gallmander; Sven Buerki; Sterling C. Keeley: A long distance dispersal hypothesis for the Pandanaceae and the origins of the Pandanus tectorius complex. Molecular Phylogenetis and Evolution 83: 20-32.2015

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pandanus-tectorius-fks

Photo: Kim Starr & Forest Starr; by courtesy of Kim Starr & Forest Starr

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

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edited: 13.02.2017

Emoia trossula Brown & Gibbons

Barred Tree Skink (Emoia trossula)

This about 25 cm long skink species is indigenous to the Fijian Islands. The population of Rarotonga / Cook Islands that formerly was assigned to this species, was only in 2011 recognized as a distinct species.

The Barred Tree Skink is mainly found in trees. [1]

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References:

[1] Walter C. Brown: Lizards of the genus Emoia (Scincidae) with observations on their evolution and biogeography. California Academy of Sciences, 1991

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emoia-trossula-dpr

Photo: Dr. Paddy Ryan; by courtesy of Dr. Paddy Ryan

http://www.ryanphotographic.com

Lepturus repens (J. R. Forst.) R. Br.

Lepturus repens

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Maria, Raivavae, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Takutea, Tongareva
Fiji: Aiwa, Batiki, Fulaga, Gau, Kabara, Kadavu, Kanacea, Koro, Mago, Matuku, Nasoata, Nayau, Nukulau, Ovalau, Rotuma, Taveuni, Toberua, Totoya, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatulele, Viti Levu
Gambier Islands: Agakauitai, Aukena, Akamaru, Kamaka, Mangareva, Taravai
Hawai’i Islands: French Frigate Shoals, Kure, Laysan, Lehua, Lisianski, Midway, Pearl and Hermes Reef
Kiribati: Abariringa, Baker Island, Enderbury Island, Flint Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Karoraina, Kiritimati, Manra, McKean Island, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra Atoll, Starbuck Island, Tabuaeran, Teraina
New Zealand: North Chanter Island (Kermadec Islands)
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno, Pitcairn Island
Samoa: ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Manuae, Maupiti, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Mopelia, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: ‘Ata, ‘Eua, Makaha’a, Manima, Maninita, Monuafe, Oneata, Polo’a, Tongatapu, Velitoa Hihifo
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Makatea, Matureivavao, Niau, Nukutepipi, Rangiroa, Raroia, Takapoto, Takume, Tenararo, Tenarunga, Tepoto Nord, Tikehau, Toau, Vahanga, Vanavana
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Niutao, Nui, Vaitupu
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names: –

Canavalia sericea A. Gray

Canavalia sericea

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Rarotonga
Fiji: Aiwa, Fulaga, Kadavu, Koro, Leleuvia, Makaluva, Malolo, Moturiki, Nairai, Nasoata, Navutu-i-loma, Nayau, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Ogea Driki, Ogea Levu, Ovalau, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatulele, Viti Levu, Waya, Yacata
Gambier Islands: Agakauitai, Akamaru, Aukena, Kamaka, Makaroa, Mangareva, Motu Teiku, Taravai
Niue
Samoa: Olosega, Savai’i, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Huahine
Tonga: Alakipeau, ‘Ata, ‘Eua, Fafa, Fukave, Makaha’a, Malinoa, Manima, Monuafe, Onevai, Onevao, Pangaimotu, Polo’a, Tau, Toketoke, Tongatapu, Tufaka, ‘Uta Vava’u, Velitoa Hahake, Velitoa Hihifo
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Hao, Makemo, Niau
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Futuna

local names:

dralawa – Fiji
wa vue – Koro / Fiji

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 3. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1985

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canavalia-sericea-fks

Photo: Kim Starr & Forest Starr; by courtesy of Kim Starr & Forest Starr

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

Psydrax odorata (G. Forst.) A. C. Sm. & S. P. Darwin

Psydrax odorata

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa, Rurutu
Fiji: Aiwa, Cikobia, Fulaga, Gau, Kabara, Kanacea, Lakeba, Moala, Munia, Nacula, Nairai, Nayau, Ovalau, Taveuni, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu, Yadua Taba, Yasawa
Gambier Islands: Agakauitai, Aukena, Mangareva
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, O’ahu
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Hatuta’a, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Pitcairn Island
Rapa Nui: Rapa Nui (ex)
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Mo’orea, Taha’a, Tahiti
Tonga: ‘Eua, Niuafo’ou, ‘Uiha

local names:

alahe’e – Hawai’i Islands
eua – Marquesas
hitoa – Society Islands
kofenua – Marquesas
kohenua – Marquesas
kotai – Marquesas
nioi – Austral Islands; Gambier Islands; Marquesas
‘ohe’e – Hawai’i Islands
olamaka – ‘Eua / Tonga
pakora – Tubuai Islands
pakoro – Tubuai Islands
toporo – Tubuai Islands
tutu – Gambier Islands
ua reka – Gambier Islands
walahe’e – Hawai’i Islands
yaduvu – Vanua Levu / Fiji
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psydrax-odorata-fks

Photo: Kim Starr & Forest Starr; by courtesy of Kim Starr & Forest Starr

http://www.starrenvironmental.com