a roll of pandanus fiber

ra'au tupu


Learn which plants to gather, what each plant is used for, and how the plants are prepared for use in medicine, food, and ceremonies.



Students go for a 'plant walk' on the motu, where they will be introduced to a variety of atoll plants.   

- Rave 'ohipa : Useful plants 
- Ra'au Tahiti : Medicinal plants
- Ha'amorira'a : Ceremonial plants


Take a transect

In small groups, students will measure off an area of the motu (transect).  Each group should be with an adult, and spread out to different locations, to insure that a variety of plants will be collected.  The transects should be marked off with string, and gps coordinates take of each corner.  Ideally, the plant collection area will be in a location where the students can find some of the 'useful' plants they were introduced to during the walk.  

Students should take a sample of each kind of plant they find in their transect - a leaf, a flower, a fruit, a piece of root or bark, etc.  Photos can be taken, drawings made...

Older students should count the total number of plants in their transect, as well as how many of each particular specie.  The data will be used to calculate abundance and richness as follow-up.

Younger students will sort their plants by a characteristic: leaf shape, for example. 


Students can also sort their plants by 'use', and use a recipe to make a skin lotion, tonic, or ?

Materials: collecting baskets, small scissors (so plants do not get ripped up), hand lenses, microscopes, mortar & pestle

TO DO: find some recipes.



Under the microscope

Leaves, stems, and flowers which were collected and drawn should now be examined under the microscope. Leaf veins, xylem and phloem in the stems, seed parts, pollen, etc. should be examined.

Students should add insets of large-scale structures to their drawings.

student working at the microscope

plant drawing showing different scale structures

Motu locations for this activity:





-17.019666488339, -149.59061538801

-17.030650946994, -149.55719741061

-17.008753642779, -149.58722532727