Māmaki & Butterflies
Treasured memories, respected elders.
Māmaki (Pipturus albidus) leaves make a healthy tea. It's an old Hawaiian medicinal plant known to boost memory along with many other health benefits.
One of the first pioneer species to fill in gaps after a forest disturbance, it is essential in nurturing slower growing long lived forest species like koa. It is also the larval plant of the Kamehameha butterfly: one of only two native Hawaiian butterflies.
The Kamehameha butterfly is of special conservation concern due to its receding and fragmented habitat. It lays its jewel like eggs on māmaki leaves, hatching into caterpillars, munching away, and transforming into bright, joyful butterflies. Symbolically the Kamehameha butterflies can be interpreted as communication with memories, elders, and ancestors.