Kō: An Ethnobotanical Guide to Hawaiian Sugarcane Cultivars
- About the Book
The overwhelming impact of sugarcane plantations in Hawai‘i has overshadowed the fact that Native Hawaiians introduced sugarcane to the Islands nearly a millennium before Europeans arrived. In fact, Hawaiians cultivated sugarcane extensively in a broad range of ecosystems using diverse agricultural systems and developed dozens of native varieties of kō(Hawaiian sugarcane). Sugarcane played a vital role in the culture and livelihood of Native Hawaiians, as it did for many other indigenous peoples across the Pacific.
This volume presents ethnobotanical information on over one hundred varieties of native and heirloom kō (Hawaiian sugarcane) and a guide to identifying fifty-five varieties held in collections today. The culmination of a decade of Noa Lincoln’s historical and ethnographic research, it includes information on all the native canes developed by Hawaiian agriculturalists before European contact, canes introduced to Hawai‘i from elsewhere in the Pacific, and some of the early hybrids created in the islands. The book includes an ethnobotanical history of kō in Hawai‘i, a guide with detailed descriptions to help identify cane varieties, a botanical key, and over 370 color photos to aid in identification.
This long-awaited publication fills the previous gap of information on native Hawaiian sugarcane varieties. It will become the standard resource text for ethnobotanical enthusiasts as well as agriculturalists, horticulturalists, and producers.
- Noa Kekuewa Lincoln is assistant professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.