1860 - Bennett, G. Gatherings of a Naturalist in Australasia [NZ chapter only] - CHAPTER XXII, p 404-421

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  1860 - Bennett, G. Gatherings of a Naturalist in Australasia [NZ chapter only] - CHAPTER XXII, p 404-421
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THE administration of remedies from the vegetable kingdom obtains among the natives of New Zealand and others of the Polynesian Islands, and a few remarks upon them may be interesting. The diseases formerly prevalent among the islands, in a mild form, readily yielded to the remedies derived from plants indigenous to the country; but as the list of them has increased, the most fatal are attributed to intercourse with Europeans.

At New Zealand, and others of the Polynesian Islands, a person suffering from disease is supposed to have incurred the displeasure of their gods, and endeavours are made to appease their anger by suitable offerings, accompanied by prayers. The priest thus assumes the doctorial dignity; he is acquainted with the native medicinal remedies, which he administers under the supposed auspices of the gods, attended by suitable incantations. At some of the islands, on the serious illness of a chief, human sacrifices are even offered up. At Tongatabu, a joint of the little finger is regarded as an acceptable offering to the offended deity. At the island of Tahiti, the four principal gods of physic and surgery are Tama, Taaroatuihono, Eteate, and Rearea: the first is invoked for the cure of fractures and bruises.

When a New Zealander has received a gun-shot or other in-

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jury, the priest prays over him, the wound is frequently washed, and all extraneous substances are removed; and no external application is used but water. The invocations of the priests to the spirits are repeated occasionally during the time. No married man or woman (excepting his own wife) is permitted to see the patient during his illness, from a superstitious idea that the spirits would be angry and retard the cure. The excellent constitutions of the natives prevent any unfavourable result, and they recover from most serious injuries in a short time. Fractures are treated without any difficulty: the bones are laid in apposition, and sticks, or pieces of bamboo, used as splints to keep them in place. The splints are seldom removed until reunion has taken place, the inflammatory stage being very mild.

The native remedies among the Polynesian Islands are principally obtained from the vegetable kingdom; the plants, when employed, are bruised, and applied externally, or infused in water or the liquid of the cocoa-nut, and administered internally. Some of these remedies are mild, and others powerful in their effects. 1

The New Zealanders have recourse also to applications of mud for some complaints, and perform blood-letting by making incisions with shells. At New Zealand the priest is named Tanaka Tohunga, or "Man that attends on the sick." At the Sandwich Islands he is named Kahuna Rapaau Mai, signify-

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ing--kahuna, a priest; rapaau, to heal, or administer medicine; and mai, disease.

Among the native medicinal plants at the island of Tahiti is an orchideous plant, called Mavi (Dendrobium teretifolium); the leaves are round, narrow, and fleshy; it bears white flowers in the month of October: this plant is used externally (for acute pains in the head, or any other part), by bruising the leaves. They have also a plant named Taa-taa-hiara, which is pounded up; then water is added, it is strained, and sometimes mixed with other herbs and cocoa-nut oil, and used as an external application in rheumatism, &c.: it is applied on the fibres of the Mou-haari (a species of Cladium), to keep it moist. They also use a species of Cladium, called by the natives Mouniu, for recent wounds: the plant is bruised and applied to the wound, and has a stimulating effect. At Tongatabu, among their medicinal plants, one is named Ufi (Fagara euodia of Forster): the leaves have a powerful and agreeable odour, and are used, both externally and internally, in various complaints. When suffering from headaches, they take it internally, and also apply it to swelled legs, ruptures, or bruises. The following preparation is used internally:-- The leaves are pounded, water is gradually added, when it is strained, and ready for use. From the fragrance of the fruit of this plant, the native females use it for their kakala, or necklaces. Among the medicinal plants of the Sandwich Islands, there is one growing on the hills, called Moa by the natives (Psilotum triquetrum); it is used, in the form of an infusion, in visceral diseases. They have also two species of Euphorbia (named Akoko or Atoto by the natives), the viscid milky juice of which is used as an application for ulcers: the milky secretion is squeezed into a calabash, and then spread over the surface of the wound. In a case I saw, in which it had been applied by one of the native doctors, the only benefit to the ulcer was the removal of the foetid odour of the discharge. This milky juice has an agreeable sweetish taste, and is destitute of any acridity.

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Among the plants at New Zealand, one (abundant on the banks of rivers and in the vicinity of the sea-coast) is named Karamu or Patete by the natives (Coprosma foetidissima); its leaves have a disagreeable smell when bruised, which has occasioned its specific name; the flowers are solitary and white; the berries of a bright red colour. The leaves of this tree are used by the New Zealanders in a ceremony in which the Rakau-Karakia, or praying sticks (Rakau signifying a stick or piece of wood; and Karakia, praying), are employed by the chiefs, through the Tohunga or priest, to discover the will of the gods or spirits respecting war, and on similar occasions. The ceremony is thus conducted:-- A stick, or piece of wood, is procured to represent every separate party, and a leaf of the Karamu is tied upon each with the Vivi, a kind of rush (Scirpus, sp.), or with flax. The Karamu-leaf is on one side of the stick; a knot of the Vivi, or the flax, which ties on the leaf, on the other; it is considered immaterial which is placed uppermost. The sticks, or pieces of wood, are then laid in order on the ground, after which the chiefs and people retire to some distance, and the Tohunga, or priest, places himself at a short distance from the sticks, and prays; the chiefs are then desired to approach. The sticks, when examined, are found moved from their places: some have disappeared, which is considered a certain sign that the person they represented will be destroyed; others are found turned over. If the knot should be found turned down, the sign is bad, because the Karamu-leaf, which represents the spirit, must be uppermost; if the reverse should occur, the spirit is considered defeated, and it is therefore regarded as a sign that the party represented by the sticks will prosper in their undertaking.

There is a very lofty and elegant Proteaceous tree in the New Zealand forests, the Knightia excelsa, or Riwa-riwa of the natives; it usually grows on the declivities of hills, and attains the height of from 60 to 70, but seldom exceeds 7 or 8 feet in circumference. The trees that came under my observation were

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invariably straight in their growth. The timber is of excellent quality, and is used for making rails, &c. The flowers are of a beautiful crimson; the seed-capsules of a dark brown colour.

The Horoeka-tree of New Zealand (Aralia crassifolia) is curious, both in its form and mode of growth: Europeans call it the "Fish-bone tree," from the peculiar appearance of its foliage. It grows in forests or shady situations, both on elevated lands and in valleys, and affects good soil. It attains the height of from 25, running with a very slender stem, to 30 feet.

Fig. 27.

Horoeka-tree (Aralia crassifolia).

Horoeka-tree (Aralia crassifolia).

In very young trees, the leaves are scattered; but in those which have attained greater maturity and elevation, they become tufted.

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No branches are thrown out, unless the short stalks, from which the tufts of foliage arise, can be so named. The leaves are about a foot in length and an inch in breadth, of thick and coriaceous texture, irregular at their edges and abrupt at their terminations; of a dark green colour above, the centre stalk of an orange colour, and having a brownish-red tinge underneath; sometimes they vary to a brownish-purple mixed with green. In young, as well as in mature specimens, I have observed a change in the form of the foliage: in some, all the leaves were ternate, whilst in others some were ternate and many of the usual shape; and others, again, had ternate, binate, and single leaves on the same tree. This anomaly occurs in young more than in full-grown trees. The leaves on the crown of some old trees increased in breadth and decreased in length. The flowers are numerous, and the fruit small. Some of the trees grow erect, others incline towards the ground, and the stems, being slender, tough, and pliable, readily bend to the passing breeze. Many of the trunks were only a foot in circumference at the base, although in height they were 30 feet. The wood is very close-grained, heavy, hard, and flexible; it has been used in boat-building. The drawing (fig. 27) shows the peculiar foliage.

The New Zealand Laburnum, Kowhie or Kongia of the natives (Edwardsia microphylla and grandiflora), is a tree with pendulous clusters of yellow blossoms, 30 to 35 feet high; it seldom grows straight, and its presence indicates good soil. The wood obtained from it is hard, durable, and is principally used by the New Zealanders for paddles or other implements in which strength is required. It flowers from September to December.

Among the multitude of beautiful Ferns peculiar to New Zealand, there is one named Uru-uru-fenua by the natives (Asplenium lucidum), and is regarded by them as a sacred plant. It is used by the Tohunga or priest when he is praying over a sick person, and endeavouring to avert the anger of the gods, to whose influence the illness of the individual is attributed; he waves a frond of this fern over the patient, and, should it happen to break,

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it is regarded as a fatal omen. When the Tohunga consults the gods, previous to engaging in any war enterprise, he also waves a frond of this fern whilst he offers up prayers to the spirits: if it breaks, it is supposed that the gods are adverse to their engaging in war, and the enterprise is abandoned. It is also used by the natives as a badge of mourning: when a wife mourns for her husband, she sits wailing in her hut, with a frond of this fern bound as a fillet around her head; and a husband performs the same ceremony when he loses his wife. They are careful not to burn this plant. It is also used when a chief has his hair cut: after the operation is performed, the chief holds a frond of this fern in his hand; meanwhile the priest prays over him, taking the frond and shaking it; after which it is dipped in water, and shaken over the chief: if it breaks, it is regarded as a sign that he will not live long; and if one of the leaflets should break off, it is regarded as an omen that one of the family of the chief will soon die; but should the frond remain entire during the ceremony, it is considered an indication of success, health, and long life. The fronds are generally 2 feet in length.

The New Zealand Flax-plant (Phormium tenax) is named Koradi or Harakeke, the latter name being applied to the plant, and the former to the long flower-spike. It also grows very luxuriantly in New South Wales. It is regarded as sacred by the New Zealanders, and is probably an object of veneration more from its utility than from any other cause, as it is not used in any of their religious or other ceremonies. It grows in moist, marshy soil; but one kind (perhaps a distinct species) is found growing on the declivities of hills. The foliage is ensiform, of a bright green colour, with a tint of orange along the margin. The leaves attain the length of 5 to 7 feet, growing perfectly erect like water-flags. The flower-stalk is 4 to 5 feet high, bearing a profusion of liliaceous flowers of a reddish-yellow colour, succeeded by triangular seed-capsules. Bees and other insects, also the honey-eating birds, procure honey from the flowers; and a gum, insoluble in water, is secreted between the leaves of the plant,

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which can be used as a cement, and for many other purposes. There is a variety of this plant with beautiful leaves, resembling the Variegated Ribbon, or Ladies'-grass (Phalaris arundinacea). The flax is procured from the leaves of the plant, the fibres of which run in a longitudinal direction. There are several varieties of the plant, some yielding flax of finer quality than others.

The Tupakihi or Tutu, the Wine-berry Shrub of Europeans (Coriaria sarmentosa), is indigenous to New Zealand, where it grows abundantly in low situations; its presence indicates good soil. It has pendulous branches, and attains a height of 6 or 7 feet. The flowers are in long, slender, pendulous racemes, small, and of greenish-white colour. The fruit is a small berry, of a shining black colour when ripe, full of a dark-red juice of sweet taste, and free from any deleterious property; but the seeds, if eaten, are poisonous; 2 the natives therefore, having expressed the juice, strain it before they drink it, or soak their baked fern-root in it. The missionaries at Paihia (Bay of Islands) make an agreeable wine from the berries of this shrub, which tastes like that made from elder-berries. The effects which result from eating the seeds are convulsions and delirium, which generally continue for thirty-six hours, and sometimes terminate fatally.

The Puredi or Kauwere of the New Zealanders (Vitex littoralis) delights in the sea-air, and generally grows to the height of 25 to 30, and 12 to 18 feet in circumference. It is called New Zealand Teak; it is very hard, and is considered the most durable of the New Zealand woods. The timber is yellow when young, but becomes of a dark-brown colour in full-grown trees; it is close-grained and heavy, injures the axe on cutting it down, and can be worked best when green; it takes a fine polish, splits freely, and is very valuable for ship-building and posts, as it bears exposure well. The flowers are elegant, drooping, and of a pink colour; the fruit is bright red.

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During a visit to New Zealand many years since, I collected eight species of Coniferae indigenous to the country, and bearing the native names of Kowrie, Remu, Tanakaa, Mai, Kaikeatea, Kawaka, Totara, and Miro. These, from their stately, erect, and elegant growth, are conspicuous among the timber-trees which adorn the New Zealand forests. The wood produced varies in quality. The Kowrie has already been described among the Dammaras. The Remu (Dacrydium cupressinum) attains the elevation of 80 or 90 feet, but seldom exceeds a circumference of 15 feet. The timber, of a mixed white and red colour, is hard and of excellent quality, and is only found in particular districts. The fruit, varying from an orange to a beautiful crimson colour, is eaten by the natives, and, being small, is less esteemed than the fleshy receptacles of other kinds; it contains black seeds. This tree is the Spruce Fir of Captain Cook.

The Tanakaa, Tawai, or Toatoa of the natives (Phyllocladus trichomanoides) attains the elevation of from 60 to 70, but seldom exceeds 14 or 15 feet in circumference. The timber is hard, heavy, and of good quality; it is white, but not equal in durability to the Kowrie, and in consequence of its heavy weight is less valuable for spars; it sinks in water; a small quantity of gum-resin exudes from it. The bark of the tree is used by the natives for dyeing a red or black colour, the preparation being as follows:-- The bark is pounded, and then put in a vessel of cold water, into which hot stones are placed until the water boils (for, in their primitive state, the natives had no vessels capable of being used upon the fire). After the bark has been boiled for some hours, the decoction is of a dark red colour; and being left to cool, it is strained and ready for use. The muka, or flax to be dyed, is put into this liquid; after remaining some time, it takes a red colour, and is then dried for use: this red colour is not indelible, but will stand frequent washings before it comes out. When the flax is to be dyed black, after having undergone the process just mentioned, it is placed in mud (usually from marshes, &c.) for the space of twelve hours, and, when taken out,

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is of a shining black colour. The bark is generally used fresh from the tree; but its virtues remain even when dried. In Ireland, it is customary, among the poorer people, to steep woollen cloth in water of the turf-bogs, which dyes it of a dark colour. A black dye is wanted in this country, which will not lose its colour on exposure to sea-air. This may be found in the bark of the Tanakaa, as the New Zealand mats dyed with it do not fade even when washed in salt water, but assume more brilliance. The beautiful black colour of the flax used in the manufacture of some kinds of the New Zealand mats is given by the process just described. The bark of this tree is sometimes stripped off by the natives, the outer part removed, and the inner portion, which is of a dark-red colour, worn round the waist as an ornament. There is a tree, named by them Hinau (Elaeocarpus Hinau), the bark of which is also used by the natives for dyeing in a similar manner. It is found in abundance about the hilly country of New Zealand, and attains the elevation of 30, and 8 or 9 feet in circumference; the leaves are ovate, serrated; the fruit small, ovate, and of a dark-brown colour when ripe; the timber is heavy and hard, but not considered very durable. The mode of procuring a black colour from the bark of this tree is by a process like that from the Tanakaa: this method is not peculiar to New Zealand, for at the Sandwich Islands the edges of the roofs of some of the principal native houses are formed of fern-leaves dyed of a black colour by being steeped in the Taro-mud--that is, the mud of the marshes in which the plantations of the Taro (Caladium esculentum) are grown. The natives first dye the fronds of a red colour with the bark of the Tui-tui, or Candle-nut tree, previous to steeping them in the Taro-mud. At the island of Tongatabu a similar process of dyeing red and black is adopted.

The Mai or Matai (Dacrydium Mai) attains the height of from 80 to 90, and a circumference of 10 to 12 feet; it is comparatively rare in the vicinity of the sea-coast, but is more abundant inland. The wood is of excellent quality, of red colour,

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and bears a resemblance to cedar. One tree, felled at Wyshaki Cove, River Thames, measured 30 feet in height and 6 feet in circumference. Some of the torins, or New Zealand flutes, tastefully carved, are made from the wood of this tree, others from human bones: the wood is not hollowed out; but the flute is formed of two portions, which are accurately joined together, tightly bound with cord made from flax, and well luted with gum-resin. The natives eat the fleshy drupes of this tree. The Kaikeatea (Dacrydium excelsum) is the loftiest timber-tree in the country; it attains the height of 120 to 130 feet, and 12 to 16 feet in circumference; it is usually found in moist localities: although the timber is soft, it is a tree of slow growth, and is often seen covered by a climbing plant, the Freycinetia Banksii. The timber of the trees growing in the North is considered superior to that in the South; but it is not fit for spars, on account of its softness and liability to splinter; nor for planks, from its warping, and deficiency of strength and durability. It produces a gum-resin of reddish colour, which is used as a masticatory, similar to the Kowrie. This pine bears a small crimson fruit, named Koroe by the natives, having a hard seed; the berries have a sweet taste, and are eaten by them. The appearance of the tree, when covered with its beautiful crimson fleshy drupes, is very attractive. The fruits of the different species are also eaten by the Kukupa or New Zealand Pigeon (Columba princeps, Vig.): some have a resinous flavour, but the fruit of the Kaikeatea (Dacrydium excelsum) is free from it, and is very agreeable to eat; it is most abundant about the months of November and December. The common canoes are made from this timber, its great length rendering it very useful for the purpose.

The Kawaka (Thuja Doniana, Hooker; Dacrydium plumosum, Don) I first made known to European botanists; it attains the height of from 60 to 70, and 8 to 10 feet in circumference; the timber is red and of excellent quality. The New Zealanders say that it received the name Kawaka on account of the branches

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growing out regularly on each side of the tree. The wood is elegantly grained, close, and heavy, and is used in New Zealand for several ornamental purposes.

The Miro (Podocarpus ferruginea, Don) attains the height of 30 to 40, and 6 to 8 feet in circumference; it yields a dark-red gum-resin, which is not chewed, on account of its bitter taste: the timber is red and hard. The tree is abundant in hilly situations, and always prefers good soil. The Totara (Podocarpus Totara) attains the elevation of 80 or 90, and a circumference of 15 or 20 feet, and is considered the next tree in diameter to the Kowrie. The timber is of red colour, becoming darker by age and exposure; the wood is excellent in plank and spar for lightness and durability, and is held in high estimation by the natives for constructing their canoes. I did not observe any gum-resin exude from the tree; but the specimens I collected, when dried, had a delightful fragrance, which I did not perceive when recently gathered. The tree is abundant on the banks of the river Kowa-kowa (kowa signifies anything bitter), as well as on the lofty hills in the vicinity. The value placed on it by the New Zealanders has been the exciting cause of quarrels between them, often terminating in bloodshed and hereditary feuds. Marks are placed upon the trees to show to whom they belong, and they descend as property from father to son. The fruit of the tree is eaten by the natives.

There is a small species of Passion-flower, named Po-hue-hue by the natives (Passiflora tetrandra). In the New Zealand woods, in May, the flower is succeeded by small orange-coloured fruit, containing seeds of a beautiful crimson colour. There are two species of the Dracaena, or Ti-tree of the natives; one, the D. indivisa, and the other, D. Australis. They attain an elevation of 10 or 12 feet, the summit dividing into several branches. The leaves are broad and ensiform, having no petioles, but are terminal and half-clasping; they form an excellent and nourishing food for cattle, &c. The Kaetatowa or Manuka of the natives, and Rata trees are both of the Myrtle family; the

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former is a species of Leptospermum (L. scoparium), and the latter a species of Metrosideros (M. robusta). The Kaetatowa grows both on elevated and low lands; it attains the elevation of from 25 to 30, but seldom more than 3 or 4 feet in circumference; the leaves are small, aromatic, and the flowers white: the wood is hard, heavy, and is used by the natives in the manufacture of the patu-patu, or war-club, paddles, and such articles as require strength and durability. The Rata attains the elevation of 30 or 40 feet; it commences as a climber, and gradually destroying the tree around which it is entwined, becomes at last a large timber-tree. The length of the timber below the branches rarely exceeds 12 feet, and it is seldom straight; it is about 8 to 10 feet in circumference. The wood is hard, tough, and of a dark-red colour, but not so heavy as the Kaetatowa; it is used by the natives for making their war-clubs and paddles, and lately for ship-building and other purposes.

Another tree, named Maire by the natives (Eugenia Maire), attains 25 or 30 feet in height, and 3 or 4 feet in circumference; the wood is hard, close-grained, heavy, and is also used for war-clubs and paddles; it has lately been found useful for machinery, and may also be serviceable for wood-engraving.

The Tafiri (Pittosporum tenuifolium), the Lemon-tree of the settlers, attains the height of 12 to 15 feet, and a small circumference; the seed-pods are black, and yield a fragrant resin of a greenish-yellow colour. The Tipau (Merista laevigata) attains the height of 16 to 20 feet, and grows straight; the wood has a close, red grain, and is hard, heavy, and durable; its small circumference renders it useless except for poles. The trees grow both on high and low land; the foliage is of a light-green colour above, white beneath. The Era-mara-mara (Myrtus bullata) is of slender, graceful growth, attaining 12 to 14 feet in height. The leaves are ovate, alternate, with a reddish tinge, and bullate; the flowers are white, and the fruit is a small red berry. It grows abundantly on the declivities of hills, in good soil, and is partial to shady situations.

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New Zealand abounds in beautiful Ferns. Most conspicuous are the lofty and graceful arborescent Ferns, of which there are several species. The Ponga of the natives (Cyathea dealbata) is a noble tree; it grows abundantly on the declivities of the hills, under the shade afforded by the forests; it attains the height of 14 or 16 feet, crowned with its delicate fronds, which extend to a length of 8 feet. Above, the fronds are of a fine dark green, but underneath, of a beautiful silvery-white colour. The circumference of the trunk is 1 1/2 foot. Externally the trunk is composed of a black substance, hard as ebony, which is continued into the interior, intersecting the white medullary part. When the tree is cut down, an adhesive juice exudes from it. The natives use the trunk of this Fern as posts, in the erection of their dwellings, and they are very durable,--the medullary portion soon decaying, but the exterior lasting for several years.

There are two other species, surpassing in magnificence of growth that just mentioned. I accompanied a native to a place where l could observe them growing. After passing through a dense forest, annoyed by the Tataramoa, or New Zealand Bramble 3 (Rubus Australis), and stumbling over the Lianas or Supple Jack (Ripogonum parviflorum?), which trailed upon the ground and about the trees (the flower of the latter is fragrant, and bears a red berry, which is a favourite food of birds), we descended a hill covered with exuberant vegetation and shaded by enormous trees; we then came upon a marshy spot, luxuriant in vegetation, where the magnificent Tree Ferns 4 rose in clumps before us. Solitude reigned, only disturbed by the low murmuring of the silver rivulets as they meandered through the richly verdant banks. The largest of these magnificent Ferns is about 20 feet high, and the trunk 2 feet in circumference; it is re-

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markable from the large size of the spiral stipes and the enormous extent of its fronds; the trunk, stipes, and central stalks of the fronds are of a beautiful shining black colour; the length of the fronds is from 16 to 18, and the leaflets from 2 to 3 feet. This splendid Fern is named Korau. Not far distant grew the other species, named Feki by the natives; it attains the size of the Ponga, both in trunk and extent of fronds; but the leaflets are smaller, and the stalk and under surface of the fronds are yellow. These two species thrive in marshy ground, and in dense, shady localities.

The Myhoe (Melicytus ramiflorus) is a pretty tree, with light-green foliage; it grows to the elevation of 25 to 30 feet, but is of small circumference; the fruit is small and of a purplish colour; and the wood is heavy. The Pate (Aralia polygama) is a tree of slender growth, attaining the elevation of 12 feet, with a small stem. The Kaiko-mako attains the elevation of 25 to 30, and 2 to 3 feet in circumference. The wood of the three last-mentioned trees is only used by the natives for procuring fire by friction. The Gorokiu (Veronica salicifolia) and the Iwau (Corchorus sloanoides) grow abundantly about the beach at the Bay of Islands. The Boka-boka (Cineraria dealbata) is a shrub of slender growth; the leaves are light green above, white and tomentose underneath: the New Zealanders named our white paper Boka-boka, from its resemblance to the under surface of the leaf of this shrub. The Maa-noa (Avicennia resinifera) is found growing in salt-water marshes and on elevated land. The Nikau (Areka sapida), or Areka Palm, is the only representative of the Palm tribe in New Zealand; it is found principally in the forests, and attains the height of 30 or 35, with a circumference of 3 feet; the flowers are in bunches, of flesh colour, succeeded by red berries. The natives use the fronds for thatching their houses.

The Koihohio (Solanum laciniatum), or Cut-leaved Nightshade, is shrubby, and grows 6 or 7 feet high, bearing a small fruit, which, when ripe, is red, and is eaten by the natives; its taste is insipid. The Maa-kukaa (Gualtheria antipoda) is a small shrubby

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plant, very abundant, as well as the Kaha-kaha (Astelia, sp.), and a pretty species of Ceanothus (Kumarahou of the natives). The Kahi-kahika (Metrosideros florida) is a bushy shrub, growing in the dense woods of New Zealand, which attaches itself to other trees by offset roots, forming dense bushes around them.

At the Sandwich Islands, the Sandal-wood tree (Santalum Freycinetianum) has almost disappeared. The Spurious Sandalwood (Myoporum tenuifolium) attains the height of 15 to 20, and 3 or 4 feet in circumference; the scented wood differs in colour, according to the age of the tree, from light yellow to red; the foliage is light green, with small white flowers. It grows in elevated situations. The wood is used in the manufacture of planes, and is considered valuable for that purpose. There are two species of Eugenia: one, named by the natives Ohia-reua (reua signifying a flower), the flowers of which are used for necklaces: this tree was formerly considered sacred; it attains a great elevation and but small circumference, and, when covered with red blossoms, has an elegant appearance. The other species is the Ohia-ha, the wood of which is used for building purposes, and the bark is employed by the natives in dyeing their cloth of a dark brown or red colour. The Jambo (Eugenia Malaccensis) is also indigenous, and is named Ohia-ai (ai signifying to eat).

The Koa (Acacia falcata) grows abundantly on the hills; the wood is hard, and is used for canoes. The native females use a variety of beautiful flowers for making "leis," or head-wreaths, of which those of yellow or orange colours are preferred; one of these flowers is a species of Sida (Rima of the natives), which is cultivated to produce double flowers. The Nohu (Tribulus cistoides) is abundant about the plains, with pretty pinnated foliage (covered, as are also the stalks, with a silvery down) and yellow flowers: the fruit is armed with spines, and the natives avoid walking on the plains with bare feet during the seeding-time. The Mexican Poppy (Argemone grandiflora) abounds, bearing large and beautiful white flowers; it is indigenous, as Captain

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Cook remarked it when he discovered the group. In the valleys, a fern (Cibotium Chamissoi), called Apu by the natives, is abundant; the stipes are covered by a fine silky down, of a yellowish-brown colour, used for stuffing pillows. 5 This down is called by the natives Pulu-apu (pulu signifying anything soft). The fronds emerge direct from the roots, and attain the height of 8 or 10 feet. It grows in shady places and on the borders of rivulets, over which the long fronds are seen gracefully drooping; the leaflets even are from 1 to 2 feet in length. The Mau (Sadleria cyatheoides, Kaulf.) is also abundant in the valleys, and has an elegant appearance when the young fronds appear, being of a beautiful scarlet colour, changing, as the leaves attain maturity, to dark green.

In the district of Wouhala (island of Oahu), the plains on the summits of the high hills are covered with dry grass, but their arid

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appearance is diversified by various plants and shrubs; and at some parts are seen deep wooded glens with picturesque scenery. Among other plants, I observed the Pokeawi (Cyathodes, sp.), bearing small red berries; and I found that the same native name was given to red beads, from their resembling the berries of this shrub. The Poporo-tumai (Phytolacca) is abundant, the berries of which yield a purplish-red juice, used for dyeing the native cloth; the young leaves are cooked and eaten.

On the plains grows a species of Dianella, named Uki by the natives, bearing a quantity of mazarine-blue berries, which are used by them as a permanent blue dye. The Ure (Osteomelis anthyllidifolia, Lind.) was also abundant; it is a small shrub, having berries of a white colour, containing a reddish juice of sweet and astringent taste; the flowers are white and fragrant.

The Nouputa (Scaevola Chamissoniana) grew on the hills, bearing elegant yellow flowers. There is a shrub called Ohava (Bassia, sp.), the fruit and seeds of which yield a red dye, used by the natives for staining the cheeks and fingers.

I will conclude by directing attention to the productions of these fertile islands; and although the valuable Sandal-wood is lost to commerce, yet other acquisitions of greater importance have been introduced; sugar, coffee, cotton, and tobacco are now cultivated, exciting commercial activity and enterprise. In the vast range of the Australian continent, New Zealand, and the luxuriant and fertile islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean, every climate is found, and it is to be regretted that the value and importance of the latter are not more appreciated by the commercial community of Great Britain, before rival nations anticipate us by taking possession of them.

1   The following account of the origin of the employment of herbs for the cure of diseases at the Sandwich Islands is given by Ellis, on the authority of the governor of the district of Kairua, at Hawaii:-- "Many generations back, a man named Koreamoku obtained all their medicinal herbs from the gods, who also taught him the use of them. After his death, he was deified, and a wooden image of him placed in the large temple at Kairua, to which offerings of hogs, fish, and cocoa-nuts were frequently presented. Oronopuha and Makanuiairomo, two friends and disciples of Koreamoku, continued to practise the art after the death of their master, and were also deified after death, particularly because they were frequently successful in driving away the evil spirits, by which the people were afflicted and threatened with death; and to these deified men the prayers of the kahuna (priest) are addressed when medicine is administered to the sick."
2   DeCandolle says, that several soldiers of the French army in Catalonia were affected by eating the fruit of another species (C. myrtifolia), of whom fifteen recovered and three died.
3   This plant produces a quantity of well-flavoured orange-coloured fruit, eaten by pigeons and other birds. It climbs up the highest trees, and near the ground the stem is often seen 6 inches in diameter; it is useful when a flexible wood is required.
4   These Ferns were probably Dicksonia squamosa and Marattia elegans.
5   As an instance of the application of material derived from the vegetable kingdom, at one time considered of no value,--some years since, several tons of the nuts of the Vegetable Ivory Palm (Phytelephas macrocarpa) were thrown away as useless. During the last two years, however, these nuts have been used in Birmingham in the manufacture of buttons; they are durable, capable of receiving dyes equal to ivory, and are much cheaper than buttons made of the latter material. They were at first used for shirt-buttons, but, becoming discoloured by washing, fell into disuse, until dyeing them of various colours was adopted. The nuts vary in price, from twenty-two to thirty-two shillings per hundred-wreight, according to quality: about 400 or 500 tons are consumed annually in Birmingham, and as many as 500 persons employed in the manufacture. The quantity of buttons manufactured, of course, varies; but one establishment has made, in a busy month, 6000 gross, of all qualities and sizes; and the average quantity made in that city monthly is from 8000 to 10,000 gross. The buttons are used principally for gentlemen's jackets, vests, ladies' mantles, and children's dresses. The machinery differs from that employed in the ordinary button-manufacture, enabling the maker to form the shapes cheaper, and with more rapidity than by the ordinary lathe. I have deposited specimens in the Kew Garden Museum, showing the nut in the original state, in the various stages of manufacture, and arranged in mixed varieties of colours, as an article of commerce. The price varies; but the buttons are sold cheaper than those made of materials capable of receiving dyes of any durability. The refuse of the nuts is not, at present, used for any special purpose.

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