An online magazine with information related to attractions, lodging, dining,
and travel resources in selected areas of Hawaii

Kauai - Limahuli Garden & Preserve

In a great many ways, Limahuli Garden was the most interesting single place that we visited while we were on Kauai. It is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden chartered by Congress in 1964 and is located in a one thousand acre valley (at the North end of the island) which extends well up the mountains behind the public area that we visited. Hundreds of different plants and animals thrive within the garden including many that are on the endangered list. It is also the site of an ancient Hawaiian village. Part of the archeological complex has been minimally restored so that one gets a unique glimpse into the past.

Excellent signage and a superb guidebook help to explain not only what each of the plants are, but how they were used by the indigenous people. For the first time, we came to understand what is meant by the "canoe plants" - the 27 different plants that the earliest immigrants carried with them in their voyaging canoes. (They also typically brought 4 animals with them - jungle fowl, pigs, rats and dogs.) We learned a lot about what the Hawaiians call kalo and we call taro. It is a fascinating story including both practical and mythical elements. All kinds of interesting tidbits are inserted into the stories of each of the exotic plants in the garden and one can not help but be impressed with the ancients that tended them. Always starting with the fact that the early Polynesians navigated across the largest ocean on the planet at least a millennium before the Portuguese stopped hugging European shores and they did it in sailing canoes.

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