Maile is a native Hawaiian plant that is famous worldwide for its uses. Here are some fun facts to know about maile:
10 Facts about Maile
- Maile has multiple varieties namely: maile hai wale, maile lau lii, maile lau nui, maile kaluhea, maile pakaha. Each of these words describes the variety and you can look up what each means on wehewehe.org
- Maile can grow to be a pretty shrub or vine based on the environment it is given. Our maile plant in our office is a cute little shrub right now and is actually doing really well indoors.
- Maile is a favorite in lei making because of its sweet smell. It gets its smell from Coumrin - a colorless crystalline solid that smells like vanilla, but serves as a chemical defense against predators.
- Maile lei are made by removing the inner stems of the vines and then twirling them together. Nipuu or Hipuu is a knotting method in which leaf stems were knotted together to make a long lei.
- Sacred to hula, maile is a lei commonly adorning dancers and their alters of worship.
- Maile is a local lei must have for graduation, prom, and weddings.
- Maile has many beautiful songs written about it. The first song that I learned on the ukulele is "A Maile Lei for Your Hair." My dad taught it to me as a young girl and I still remember it! His dad taught it to him. It's a special song to me.
- Maile was used by Hawaiians to treat cuts, injuries, and abscesses.
- Maile was used to give tapa a nice scent.
- Though varieties of maile are indigenous and endemic to Hawaii, most maile today comes from Cooke Islands.