Peperomia pallida (G. Forst.) A. Dietr.

Peperomia pallida

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Rarotonga
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Niue
Samoa: Savai’i, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Maupiti, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti
Tonga: Niuatoputapu, Tafahi, ‘Uta Vava’u
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Makatea, Niau
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, Futuna

local names: –

~~~

There are some forms of hybrid origin, Peperomia x abscondita and Peperomia pallida x societatis J. W. Moore.

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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

Fimbristylis cymosa R. Br.

Hurricane-Grass (Fimbristylis cymosa)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Tongareva
Fiji: Rotuma, Viti Levu
Gambier Islands: Mangareva, Taravai, Totegegie
Hawai’i Islands: French Frigate Shoals, Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Kure, Lana’i, Laysan, Lehua, Maui, Midway, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, O’ahu
Kiribati: Abariringa, Baker Island, Enderbury Island, Jarvis Island, Kiritimati, Manra, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra-Atoll, Tabuaeran, Teraina
Marquesas: Eiao, Ua Huka
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island
Samoa: ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Maiao, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: ‘Eua, Fafa, Fukave, Malinoa, Manima
Tuamotu Archipelago: Apataki, Hao, Makatea, Manihi, Niau, Rangiroa, Takapoto, Tenarunga, Tikehau, Toau
Tuvalu: Nui
Wallis & Futuna: Futuna, ‘Uvea

local name:

mati upoo – Tuamotu Archipelago
mauku – ‘Atiu, Manihiki, Rakahanga, Tongareva / Cook Islands
mau’u’aki’aki – Hawai’i Islands
mouku – Tuamotu Archipelago
kukuti – Tuamotu Archipelago
pako pako – Tahiti / Society Islands
papa ‘enua – Ma’uke / Cook Islands
pupu – Rotuma / Fiji
te uteute ni mane – Kiribati
tuise – Tokelau
tumu ‘enua – Palmerston / Cook Islands
uti’uti hu’a – Society Islands
vayavaya – Nassau, Pukapuka / Cook Islands

~~~

Two of three accepted subspecies of this species are known to occur within the Polynesian region, Fimbristylis cymosa ssp. cymosa R. Br. and Fimbristylis cymosa ssp. umbellatocapitata (Hillebr.) T. Koyama.

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References:

[1] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 1. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1979

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

Ocypode pallidula Hombron & Jacquinot

Common Ghost-Crab (Ocypode pallidula)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rurutu
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Aitutaki, Ma’uke, Mangaia, Manuae, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Tongareva
Gambier Islands: Aukena, Mangareva
Hawai’i Islands: Laysan, Midway, O’ahu
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island
Tuamotu Archipelago: Manihiki, Marutea (Sud), Moruroa, Raraka
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi

local names:

‘atike – Aitutaki / Cook Islands
kalami – Pukapuka / Cook Islands
kohiti – Rakahanga / Cook Islands
kohitihiti – Tongareva / Cook Islands
ko’iti – Rarotonga / Cook Islands
tike – Ma’uke / Cook Islands
tiketike – ‘Atiu, Miti’aro / Cook Islands
titorotai – Mangaia / Cook Islands

***

The Common Ghost-Crab is indigenous in the Indo-Pacific region, where it can be found running about the beaches in search for food, and digging burrows in the sand.

It is a rather small species, reaching a carapace size of about 2,5 cm in diameter.

On the Cook Islands, where the species seems to be very common, it is known by several names, including ‘atike, kalami, kohiti, kohitihiti, ko’iti, tike, tiketike and titorotai.

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References:

[1] Katsushi Sakai; Michael Türkay: Revision of the genus Ocypode with the description of a new genus, Hoplocypode (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 56(2): 665-793. 2013

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Photo: J. Poupin; by courtesy of J. Poupin

http://decpoda.ecole-navale.fr/index.php
http://decapoda.free.fr

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edited: 17.12.2018

Ducula galeata (Bonaparte)

Nukuhiva Imperial Pigeon (Ducula galeata)

For a very long time this bird was thought to be endemic to the Marquesan island of Nuku Hiva – this, however, turned out to be far from the truth.

In fact, in historical times this species had a much wider geographical range, including the Cook Islands, as well as the Society Islands, and of course all of the Marquesan Islands as well. The birds were extirpated from most of their former range already by the Polynesian settlers, and had their last refuge on the island of Nuku Hiva – a situation that is called artificial endemism (… in fact, there are several other bird species within Polynesia that share the same situation …).

The Nukuhiva Imperial Pigeon is a huge bird, reaching about 55 cm from the tip of its bill to the tip of its tail, it is therefore the largest surviving pigeon species in Polynesia.

Nevertheless the bird is far from being flightless.

The endangered species was reintroduced to another of the Marquesasn islands, Ua Huka, were it is breeding since, and the future of this impressive species seems to be a good and save one.

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Photo: Virginie & Fabien (fabvirge); by courtesy of Virginie & Fabien (fabvirge)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/virginieetfabien

Pisonia grandis R. Br.

Pisonia grandis

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Maria, Raivavae, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Takutea, Tongareva
Fiji: Aiwa, Kadavu, Mabualau, Nayabo, Rotuma, Vanua Levu
Hawai’i Islands: Lisianski, Maui
Kiribati: Abariringa, Enderbury, Flint, Karoraina, Kiritimati, Malden, Manra, McKean, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra, Starbuck, Tabuaeran, Teraina, Vostok
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Fatu Huku, Hatu Iti, Hatuta’a, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno
Samoa: Apolima, ‘Aunu’u, Fanuatapu, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Rose-Atoll, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Maupiha’a, Maupiti, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Motu One, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Faka’ofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: Alakipeau, ‘Ata, ‘Eua, Fukave, Lifuka, Makaha’a, Malinoa, Maninita, Mokotu’u, Motutapu, Nomuka, Onevai, Onevao, Tau, Toketoke, Tongatapu, ‘Uta Vava’u, Velitoa Hahake
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Fangatau, Kaukura, Makatea, Mataiva, Napuka, Niau, Nukutipipi, Pukapuka, Rangiroa, Raroia, Takapoto, Takaroa, Takume, Tenararo, Tepoto Nord, Tikehau, Tikei, Toau, Vanavana
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Nanumanga, Nanumea, Nui, Niulakita, Niutao, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu
Wallis & Futuna: Motu Faioa, ‘Uvea

local names:

buka – Fiji
puka – Cook Islands
puka avarua – Mangaia / Cook Islands
pukatea – Cook Islands
pu’avai – Samoa
talatalabia – Fiji

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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

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edited: 10.04.2019

Nervilia concolor (Blume) Schltr.

Unicoloured Nervilia (Nervilia concolor)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro
Fiji: Ovalau, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Niue
Samoa: Ofu, Savai’i, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Mai’ao, Mo’orea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tetiaroa
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Makatea, Motutunga, Niau, Takapoto, Tikehau
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi

local names:

lautaha – Niue
pia rautahi – Austral Islands; Society Islands
pia rau-ta’i – ‘Atiu / Cook Islands
pia ruatahi – Austral Islands
pua rautahi – Austral Islands; Society Islands

~~~

This species occurs from Southeast Asia into Polynesia, where it can be found on Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Wallis and Futuna, as well as on the Austral-, the Cook-, and the Society Islands, and even on some of the atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago. [1][2][3][4]

~~~

The species is perhaps better known by the synonym Nervilia aragoana Gaudich..

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References:

[1] T. G. Yuncker: The flora of Niue. Bishop Museum Bulletin 178: 1-126. 1943
[2] T. G. Yuncker: Plants of Tonga. Bishop Museum Bulletin 220: 1-283. 1959
[3] Harold St. John; Albert C. Smith: The Vascular Plants of the Horne and Wallis Islands. Pacific Science 25(3): 313-348. 1971
[4] Albert C. Smith: Flora Vitiensis Nova: A new flora of Fiji (Spermatophytes only). Vol. 5. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii 1991

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nervilia-concolor-rt

Photo: Ravahere Taputuarai; by courtesy of Ravahere Taputuarai

http://moorea.berkeley.edu/content/rava-taputuarai

Dicranopteris linearis (Burm. f.) Underw.

Dicranopteris linearis

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Ma’uke, Rarotonga
Fiji: Lakeba, Nayau, Rotuma, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Gambier Islands: Agakauitai, Akamaru, Aukena, Kamaka, Mangareva, Taravai
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i, O’ahu
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
New Zealand: North Island
Norfolk Islands: Norfolk Island
Pitcairn Islands: Pitcairn Island
Samoa: Ofu, Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Maupiti, Moorea, Raiatea, Tahaa, Tahiti
Tonga: ‘Eua, Kao, Niuafo’ou, Tafahi, Tofua
Wallis & Futuna: Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names:

asaua – Samoa
tuanu’e – Mangaia, Ma’uke, Raraka / Cook Islands
tuenu’e – ‘Atiu / Cook Islands
uluhe – Hawai’i Islands

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

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

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edited: 10.04.2019

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

~~~

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