All About ʻUlu: Breadfruit of Hawaii

Hawaiian ʻUlu (Breadfruit)


The Breadfruit, known as ʻUlu, is a remarkable and imposing tree. It can reach towering heights of 30-60 feet and boasts large, lush, leathery leaves, measuring between 1 to 3 feet in length, often with lobed contours.

What sets ʻUlu apart is its unique reproductive system, bearing separate male and female flowers on the same tree. The female flowers eventually give rise to substantial fruits, ranging from five to eight inches in diameter and weighing up to an astonishing ten pounds.

Interestingly, the breadfruit in Hawaii isn't a solitary entity; rather, it's a cluster of numerous smaller fruits tightly packed together.


Ulu Breadfruit Hawaii Closeup


The ʻUlu (Hawaiian Breadfruit) Tree


The ʻUlu tree serves a multitude of purposes in Hawaiian culture. Its starchy fruit is not only edible but also boasts a sticky sap that serves as an adhesive. Additionally, its wood is skillfully crafted into various implements like poi pounding boards, while the coarse leaves find use as effective sandpaper. Even the dried male flowers have their role, as they are burned as mosquito repellent.


Ulu Breadfruit Hawaii Uses


Kahanu Garden


Within Kahanu Garden's expanding ʻulu grove, they proudly nurture approximately 300 of these remarkable trees, representing a diverse array of over 150 distinct varieties; a collection that stands as the world's largest of its kind.


Ulu Breadfruit at Kahanu Garden Maui


"Aʻohe ʻulu e loaʻa i ka pōkole o ka lou."

No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short. There is no success without preparation.


Aerial View of Kahanu Garden


Thanks for reading! Now get out and explore the island!

A hui hou!


We recognize the use of diacritical markings of the (modern) Hawaiian language including the ʻokina [ʻ] or glottal stop and the kahakō [ō] or macron (e.g., in place names of Hawaiʻi such as Lānaʻi). However, you may notice these diacritical markings have been omitted on some parts of this website to ensure the best online experience for our visitors. We recognize the importance of using these markings to preserve the language and culture of Hawaii and respectfully use them in all communications beyond the online platform.

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