Cordyline fruticosa (Ti plant, also known as the good luck plant), is an evergreen flowering plant in the family Liliaceae, formerly treated in the families Agavaceae and Laxmanniaceae. It is a woody plant growing up to 4 m tall, with leaves 30-60 cm (rarely 75 cm) long and 5-10 cm wide at the top of a woody stem. It produces 40-60 cm long panicles of small scented yellowish to red flowers that mature into red berries. It is native to tropical southeastern Asia, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, northeastern Australia, Indian Oceanand parts of Polynesia. It is not native to Hawaii or New Zealand but exists on those islands as a feral weed introduced by Polynesian settlers. . C. fruticosa is known by a wide variety of common names including cabbage palm, good luck plant, palm lilly and Ti plant, kī (Hawaiian), sī (Tongan), and autī''.
In ancient Hawaii the plant was thought to have great spiritual power; only high priests and chiefs were able to wear leaves around their necks during certain ritual activities. Ti leaves were also used to make lei, and to outline borders between properties (for which its alternative name: terminalis). To this day some Hawaiians plant Ti near their houses to bring good luck. The leaves are also used for lava sledding. A number of leaves are lashed together and people ride down hills on them.
In Hawaii, Ti rhizomes are fermented and distilled to make okolehao, a liquor.
Analysis of plant microfossils in archaeological deposits from two remote archipelagos: the Marshall Islands, eastern Micronesia, and the Pitcairn Group, Southeast Polynesia (1).
Apr 01, 2006; Abstract: Pollen and starch residue analyses were conducted on 24 sediment samples from archaeological sites on Maloelap and Ebon...