Native to the south Pacific, ‘Ulu arrived in Hawaiʻi with the first Polynesians. This tree has a long history of introduction and cultivation in tropical areas. The migrating Polynesians spread ‘ulu around the Pacific arena while European explorers brought the food source to the Atlantic. In the late 1700s, Europeans brought plants to Jamaica, Tahiti, and throughout Latin America. Pacific Islanders cultivated different varieties to ensure yearlong fruit production.
Today hundreds of cultivars exist, both seeded and seedless, coming in many shapes, sizes, and fruiting seasons with the ability to thrive in a wide range of conditions from coral atolls to well-drained fertile soil.
To germinate: sow fresh seeds in moist soil, germination takes place in a few weeks. Most cultivars in Hawaiʻi are seedless, and propagation requires air layers or root cuttings. Wound the roots at the soil surface to induce new offspring. Wait until the sucker is 18 inches tall with a healthy root system before separating from the parent tree.
- Cultural significance
- No dangers