Ti Plant

Cordyline fruticosa
Cordyline
‘Auti (PF), Ti (PF)

Interesting facts

The ‘Auti is an ornamental plant, commonly found around houses, planted in a straight line. Its large leaves - which are different colors depending on the variety (red, yellow, green) - are used in the confection of traditional vegetable costumes. It is a very sacred plant for Polynesians which wards away evil spirits. According T. Henry, it is “maybe the most important Polynesian plant”. According to legends the god Ta’aroa offered this plant to man to save them from famine. The branches and leaves of the ‘Auti were and are omnipresent for ceremonies in the marae. The ‘Auti is even indispensable for the success of a ceremony. The leaves were once worn by warriors, orators, and magicians. Its large, brilliant, leaves are used across Oceania to wrap food. Its tubers are edible once cooked in an oven and become very sweet and rich in carbohydrates. It is also possible to make a sweet juice with the tubers. The leaves were consumed by the Hawaiians who also used the roots of the ‘Auti to make a strong alcohol, O-Kole-Hao, which was a tradition taught to the Tahitians. The European missionaries used them to ferment their beer.

Family

Lomandraceae

Biogeographical status

Polynesian introduction

Life form

Shrub

Abundance on Tetiaroa

Cultivated on Onetahi only

Ecosystem on Tetiaroa

Garden

sources
legend

S: Society | T: Tuamotu | M: Marquesas | G: Gambier | A: Australs | FP: French Polynesia