Hawaiian Lauhala from Kihalani Tropicals

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    The Hala Tree (or Pandanus)  has been an important part of Polynesian culture as well as Polynesian craft for centuries.  Lauhala (leaves of the Hala) have been used by the Hawaiian people since ancient times in many ways; roofing materials, floor coverings, bedding mats, clothing, sails for boats and for baskets of many kinds. The fruits and portions of the roots are edible. The seed pods are used as paint brushes. The wood is used in carving.  The pollen of the flower from the male is rumored to be an aphrodisiac.

Lauhala bracelet

Lauhala mat

      There are many varieties of Pandanus known world-wide.  The most commonly used variety has thorns on the edges,  which must be trimmed prior to use in weaving.  The characteristics  of  the leaves (called lauhala),depend on the variety and where they are grown, must be considered in selection for a specific task. 

     Lauhala is currently produced in many tropical regions.  Most of the
baskets mats and hats on the market come from The Philippines or the South Pacific ( Tonga, Fiji, etc.) Even the lauhala products marketed in
Hawaii are usually imported from these sources.

   As a medium for weaving, lauhala is sold in bundles called "rounds". These rounds are produced in large quantities but seldom reach the Western market. Retailing at $30-$40 for a total of approx. 150 linear feet, these rounds are known to be of mixed quality by American or Hawaiian
standards.