I saw two more botanical gardens on Oahu, Ho’omaluhia Garden, a giant 400-acre garden on the wet windward side of Oahu, upslope from Kailua, and Wiahiawā Botanical garden, a garden in the center of the island at much higher elevation.that despite its small size (27-acres) feels equally “wild” in places.
Taro or Kalo, unlike so many plants that were brought in by accident in modern times, was probably a “canoe” plant, carried in by the original Polynesians who settled the islands, according to the Hawaii Horticulture blog. The Hawaii Ocean project says it was “once a staple of the Hawaiian diet, and still an integral part of the culture,” Polynesians who brought taro planted it near rivers and streams.
It has a place in Hawaiian mythology, Wakea (the sky father), and the beautiful goddess, Hoʻohokukalani (the heavenly one who made the stars), wished to have a child. Their first attempt, however, resulted in a still birth. The body of the stillborn child was buried near their home. From this buried child grew a taro plant.
Tumeric, or ‘Ōlena is also believed to be a “canoe” plant, carried in by the original Polynesians. It does not spread readily by seed, but it can be found growing wild at very old planting sites on the big island, Molokai, and Maui.