1) Plant History & General Information:
- Location on Property: Garden A, Garden E, Garden N, Garden W
- Scientific Name: Cordyline Fruticosa
- Region of Origin: Southeastern Asia, Papua New Guinea, Northeastern Australia, Indian Ocean and 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.
- General History: The species was spread from its native range throughout Polynesia by farmers. The plant or its roots are referred to in most Polynesian languages as ti. Leaves were also used to make items of clothing including skirts worn in dance performances. The Hawaiian hula skirt is a dense skirt, an opaque layer of at least 50 green leaves with the bottom (top of the leaves) shaved flat. 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 are 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. Ti is a popular ornamental plant, with numerous cultivars available, many of them selected for green or reddish or purple foliage.
2) Plant Uses:
- As Food: The large, sweet starchy roots, when mature, can be baked and eaten as a dessert.
- As Medicine: Rhizomes can be eaten as medicine. This versatile plant also has many medicinal uses, either alone or as a wrapping for other herbs needing to be steamed or boiled. The ti leaves were wrapped around warm stones to serve as hot packs, used in poultices and applied to fevered brows. A drink from boiled green ti leaves were used to aid nerve and muscle relaxation. Steam from boiled young shoots and leaves made an effective decongestant. You can also use the pleasantly fragrant flowers for asthma.
- Other Uses: You can use its leaves to thatch the roofs of houses, and to wrap and store food. Leaves were also used to make items of clothing including skirts worn in dance performances. In Hawaii, Ti rhizomes are fermented and distilled to make okolehao, a liquor.
3) Growing Instructions
- Growing: Most cordyline hybrids prefer a well-lit situation which offers them protection from the hot sun. Good drainage is essential. They may have difficulty competing with the root systems of trees and large palms. Feed twice a year with a good slow release fertilizer. Applications of liquid fertilizers based on seaweed products (every 2-3 weeks during the warm weather) will help keep your plants growing well.
- Best time to Harvest:
- Sunlight Requirements: Full sun, a warm climate
- Soil Requirements:
- These must be planted with full roots (rhizomes) or by cutting the rhizomes into pieces, each piece should have minimum of 2 eyes.
- Dig hole large enough to contain root ball,
- gently paper bag (mulch) around cuttings and place new soil on top and weigh down with rock or guava branches.
- Water thoroughly
- Controlling Spread:
- Difficulties with this plant:
Plant History at Hedonisia: