Cordyline fruticosa09 March
Cordyline fruticosa is an evergreen flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae. The plant is of great cultural importance to the traditional animistic religions of Austronesian and Papuan peoples of the Pacific Island. Its original native distribution is unknown, but it is believed to be native to the region from Bangladesh, to Mainland Southeast Asia to East Australia. It has the highest morphological diversity in New Guinea and is believed to have been extensively cultivated there.
It was carried throughout Oceania by Austronesians, reaching as far as Hawaii, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Rangitāhua (Kermadec Islands), and Rapa Nui at their furthest extent. Unlike the ti populations in Southeast Asia and Near Oceania, this cultivar is almost entirely sterile in the further islands of eastern Polynesia. It can be propagated only by cuttings from the stalks or the rhizomes.
Ti plants were used in many ways by ancient Hawaiians including in ceremony, clothing, construction, medicine and even baked as a dessert. Okolehao is known to be Hawaii’s only indigenous distilled spirit whose main ingredient was the root of the ti plant. Today ti is still used for lei making and planted around homes as good luck and known for having intense spiritual energy being sacred to the deities Lono and Laka.