Tag Archives: Mataiva

Coenobita perlatus H. Milne Edwards

Strawberry Hermit Land Crab (Coenobita perlatus)

This species is distributed throughout the whole tropical Indopacific region, from the coasts of Africa up to East Polynesia, where it can be found in large numbers especially on the atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago.

The animals mostly stay close to the beaches, where they feed on all applicable things they can get, including seeds washed up to the beach or fallen coconuts, but also washed up fish and dead seabirds.

Strawberry Hermit Land Crabs prefer the shells of sea snails of the genus Turbo.

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References:

[1] Alden D. Hinckley: Ecology of Terrestrial Arthropods on the Tokelau Atolls. Atoll Research Bulletin 124: 1-18. 1969
[2] J. C. Yaldwyn; Kasimierz Wodzicki: Systematics and ecology of the land crabs (Decapoda: Coenobitidae, Grapsidae and Gecarcinidae) of the Tokelau Islands, Central Pacific. Atoll Research Bulletin 235: 1-59. 1979
[3] S. A. Hathaway; K. McEachern; R. N. Fisher: Terrestrial Forest Management Plan for Palmyra Atoll: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1007, 78 p. 2011

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

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

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Ximenia americana L.

Ximenia americana

Distribution:

Cook Islands: ‘Atiu, Manihiki, Tongareva
Fiji: Beqa, Cikobia-i-lau, Gau, Lakeba, Makaluva, Moala, Nakuci, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Rotuma, Vanua Levu, Viti Levu
Kiribati: Karoraina
Samoa: Manono, Savai’i, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Maupiha’a, Ra’iatea, Tahiti
Tonga: ‘Ata, Malinoa, Monuafe, Motutapu, Onevai, Onevao, ‘Uta Vava’u
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Manihi, Mataiva, Niau, Rangiroa, Raroia, Takapoto
Tuvalu: Nanumanga, Nanumea, Niutao, Nui

local names:

misimisi – Fiji
molimoli – Fiji
moli tai – Samoa
rama – Tongareva / Cook Islands
somisomi – Fiji
sosomi – Fiji
tomitomi – Fiji
tumitumi – Fiji

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edited: 10.04.2019

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

Ocypode ceratophthalma (Pallas)

Horn-eyed Ghost-Crab (Ocypode ceratophthalma)

Distribution:

Cook Islands: Aitutaki, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga
Fiji: Kadavu, Makaluva, Viti Levu
Gambier Islands: Mangareva
Hawai’i Islands: O’ahu
Kiribati: Abariringa, Kiritimati, Palmyra, Tabuaeran
Marquesas: Eiao, Nuku Hiva
Norfolk Islands
Samoa: Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Manuae, Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti
Wallis & Futuna: Alofi, ‘Uvea
Tuamotu Archipelago: Fakarava, Makatea, Makemo, Marutea (Sud), Mataiva, Rangiroa, Raraka, Raroia, Taiaro, Takapoto, Tikehau

local names:

avi’ivi’i – Samoa
kalami wolomatua – Pukapuka / Cook Islands
kohite – Rakahanga / Cook Islands
pa’a – Samoa

***

The Horn-eyed Ghost-Crab is indigenous to the Indo-Pacific, where it occurs from the coasts of East Africa far into Polynesia, where the animals run about the beaches in search for edible things, including washed up dead fish, or dead sea birds, but also newly hatched sea turtles.

It is a quite large species with a carapace size of up to 8 cm in diameter. It can be distinguished from other related crabs by the eyestalks extending beyond the eyes into long points, those stalks are longer in males, and shorter or almost absent in females.

In Samoa, the species is called avi’ivi’i resp. pa’a.

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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: 19.12.2018

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

Emoia cyanura (Lesson)

Coastal Blue-tailed Skink (Emoia cyanura)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Nassau, Pukapuka, Rarotonga, Tongareva
Fiji: Taveuni, Viti Levu
Gambier Islands: Mangareva
Kiribati: Flint Island, Tabuaeran
Marquesas: Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva
Niue
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island, Oeno, Pitcairn Island
Samoa: Fanuatapu, ‘Upolu, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Nu’utele, Ofu, Olosega, Tutuila
Society Islands: Huahine, Maupiha’a, Me’eti’a, Mo’orea, Tahiti
Tokelau: Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu
Tonga: ‘Eua; Niuatoputapu; Lifuka (Ha’apai Islands); Tongatapu; ‘Euakafa, Kapa, Kenutu, Mafana, Maninita, Nuku, Pangaimotu, Taula, ‘Umuna, ‘Uta Vava’u, Vaka’eitu (Vava’u Islands)
Tuamotu Archipelago: Ahe, Anaa, Aratika, Fakarava, Hao, Katiu, Makemo, Manihi, Mataiva, Niau, Nihiru, Pukapuka, Rangiroa, Raraka, Raroia, Takaroa, Takume, Tureia
Tuvalu: Funafuti
Wallis & Futuna: Futuna, ‘Uvea

local names:

moko – Aitutaki, Miti’aro, Pukapuka, Tongareva / Cook Islands
moko kakara – Ma’uke / Cook Islands
moko sari – Fiji
motukutuku – Mangaia / Cook Islands

***

This ‘species’ in fact isn’t a species in the common sense, it is most probably not monophyletic, that means the species’ name covers more than one species.

The Polynesian populations extend from Fiji into central Polynesia (Cook Islands, Society Islands) and east Polynesia (Tuamotu Archipelago). The western populations may be native, the central and eastern, however, were most probably imported by early Polynesian settlers.

There is still a lot to discover …. [1][2][3][4][5]

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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
[2] B. J. Gill: The land reptiles of Western Samoa. Journal of the Royal Society of new Zealand 23(2): 79-89. 1993
[3] B. J. Gill: Notes on the land reptiles of Wallis and futuna, South-West pacific. Records of the Auckland Institute and Museum 32: 55-61.1995
[4] Emilio M. Bruna; Robert N. Fisher; Ted J. Case: Morphological and genetic evolution appear decoupled in Pacific skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Emoia). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B 263: 681-688. 1996
[5] Robert Fisher; Moeumu Uili; Czarina Lese; Fialelei Enoka: Reptiles of the Aleipata Islands: Surveys 2009–2010. In: Alan Tye, David J. Butler: Restoration of Nu’utele and Nu’ulua Islands (Aleipata Group), Samoa, through the management of introduced rats and ants. Conservation International Pacific Islands Program 2013

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emoia-cyanura-dpr

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

http://www.ryanphotographic.com

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edited: 01.01.2019

Sesbania coccinea (L. f.) Poir.

Sesbania coccinea

Distribution:

Fiji: Fulaga, Marabo, Nayau, Vatu Vara, Yacata
Pitcairn Islands: Henderson Island
Society Islands: Mo’orea, Ra’iatea, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tonga: Maninita, Mounu, Taungai
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Fakarava, Fangataufa, Hao, Kaukura, Makemo, Mataiva, Napuka, Niau, Pukapuka, Rangiroa, Raroia, Tahanea, Takapoto, Tepoto Nord, Tikehau

local names:

afai – Tahiti / Society Islands
faifai – Tupai / Society Islands
kofai – Niau / Tuamotu Archipelago
kohai – Raroia / Tuamotu Archipelago
‘ofai – Tahiti / Society Islands

~~~

The taxonomy of this species is very confusing, it is thought to contain several varieties, of which some, of course, may not be valid at all.

The species contains at least two subspecies, of which one, the nominate form, is of Melanesian origin, occuring in Polynesia only on a few islands within the Fijian and Tongan islands, while the other one, ssp. atollensis (H. St.John) M.-H. Sachet is endemic to eastern Polynesia, where it occurs with three varieties on the Pitcairn Islands, the Society Islands and in the Tuamotu Archipelago.

Cordia subcordata Lam.

Kou (Cordia subcordata)

Distribution:

Austral Islands: Raivavae, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai
Cook Islands: Aitutaki, ‘Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Manuae, Ma’uke, Miti’aro, Nassau, Palmerston, Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Suwarrow, Tongareva
Fiji: Beachcomber Island; Beqa, Fulaga, Gau, Kadavu, Koro, Lakeba, Mabualau, Macuata, Makaluva, Matuku, Moala, Monuriki, Moturiki, Nanuya Lailai, Nasoata, Navo, Nayau, Nukulau, Nukulevu, Ovalau, Rotuma, Taveuni, Vanua Balavu, Vanua Levu, Vatulele, Viti Levu, Wakaya, Yadua Taba, Yanucalailai
Gambier Islands: Akamaru, Kamaka, Mangareva, Taravai
Hawai’i Islands: Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Ni’ihau
Kiribati: Abariringa, Baker Island, Birnie Island, Enderbury Island, Flint Island, Howland Island, Karoraina, McKean Island, Malden Island, Manra, Nikumaroro, Orona, Palmyra Atoll, Rawaki, Starbuck Island, Tabuaeran, Teraina
Marquesas: Eiao, Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Mohotani, Nuku Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Ua Pou
Niue
Pitcairn Islands (?): Henderson Island
Samoa: ‘Aunu’u, Namu’a, Nu’ulua, Ofu (?), Olosega, Savai’i, Ta’u, Tutuila, ‘Upolu
Society Islands: Bora Bora, Huahine, Mai’ao, Manuae, Maupiti, Me’eti’a, Moorea, Mopelia, Motu One, Tahaa, Tahiti, Tetiaroa, Tupai
Tokelau: Atafu, Faka’ofo, Nukunonu, Olohega
Tonga: ‘Eua, Makaha’a, Malinoa, Manima, Maninita, Monuafe, Oneata, Onevai, Pangaimotu, Polo’a, Tongatapu, ‘Uta Vava’u
Tuamotu Archipelago: Anaa, Fakarava, Makatea, Manihi, Mataiva, Matureivavao, Mururoa, Niau, Rangiroa, Raroia, Takapoto, Takume, Tenarunga, Tikehau, Vahanga
Tuvalu: Funafuti, Nanumea, Niutao, Nui, Vaitupu
Wallis & Futuna: ‘Uvea

local names:

bakanawa – Fiji
ilima – Kiribati
kanava – Tokelau; Nui, Vaitupu / Tuvalu; Futuna, ‘Uvea / Wallis & Futuna
kanave – Nukunonu / Tokelau
kiripoa – Tuamotu Archipelago
kou – Hawai’i Islands
man’ao – Rotuma / Fiji
marupua – Tuamotu Archipelago
motou – Niue
nawanawa – Fiji
pua – Tuamotu Archipelago
pua taukanave – ‘Eua / Tonga
taiuli – Olohega / Tokelau
tauanave – Samoa
te kanawa – Kiribati
tou – Austral Islands; Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Mauke, Mitiaro, Palmerston, Rakahanga, Rarotonga, Tongareva / Cook Islands; Marquesas; Society Islands; Raroia / Tuamotu Archipelago
wakanava – Nassau, Pukapuka / Cook Islands

~~~

The kou is an about 7 to 15 m tall tree with a broad densely leaved crown.

This species occurs over a wide geographical range, as it can be found on the islands of the Indian Ocean up to almost all of the islands in the Pacific Ocean. In Polynesia this species can be found on all island groups, except for New Zealand and Easter Island.

The wood of the tree was (and still is) used for various carvings, and also for the production of canoes or paddles, as long as a large enough tree could be found.

On the Hawai’i Islands the tannin-containing leaves were used to dye bark cloth tan, but also to colour fishing lines, to make them less visible to the fishes. In Kiribati again the leaves were primarily used as pig fodder.

The bright orange flowers are often used for floral wreaths, and the seeds have been eaten in times of famine.

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cordia-subcordata-rt

Photo: Ravahere Taputuarai

(under creative commons licence (3.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

cordia-subcordata-akk1

floral wreath, made of kou flowers

Photo: Dr. Angela K. Keppler; by courtesy of Dr. Angela K. Keppler

http://www.pbif.org

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edited: 19.09.2016