There is no better place to see an amazing collection of tropical flora in one place than by visiting Kahanu Garden on Maui’s eastern coastline, near the famous Hana town.
The 294-acre Kahanu Garden is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, an important collection of five botanical gardens in the USA that serve to preserve and educate about this important and unique piece of our country’s ecology and its relationship to Polynesian cultures worldwide. Most of the gardens in the collection are located in Hawaii (3 of them are on Kauai and the 5th is in Florida).
You will see a huge variety of plants there, from banana and coconut to bamboo and taro to vanilla and turmeric. It also has some of the most amazing sea views in all of Maui!
3 Fun Facts About Kahanu Garden (Know Before You Go!):
1) It houses some of the largest sources of pandanus and breadfruit.
Pandanus looks so much like pineapple that it is sometimes jokingly referred to as the tourist pineapple. The fruit is sweet, but the fibers are also very useful as well and Hawaiians have made everything from hats and baskets to sails and mattresses from them. Breadfruit is a staple that is so versatile and sustainable that it may soon be making headlines as the solution to world hunger. (You can learn even more about breadfruit at the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s Breadfruit Institute on Kauai.)
2) It’s one of the best-kept secrets on the road to Hana.
A visit to Kahanu Garden makes a perfect stop on your Road to Hana drive. Wander through the shady garden, looking at unbelievably gorgeous plants and flowers and learning about the crucial role they all played in many Polynesian cultures’ survival and spiritual lives.
3) It’s the only place you can see Pi’ilanihale Heiau.
This remarkable piece of Hawaiian history alone is worth the trip to Kahanu Garden. Pi’ilanihale Heiau is the largest place of worship in all of Polynesia as well as one of Hawaii’s best-preserved archaeological sites. Registered as a National Historical Landmark, Pi’ilanihale Heiau is believed to have been built in the 18th century. Many believe the site was used not just for worshiping gods but also for human and animal sacrifices.
You don’t have to be a botanical enthusiast to enjoy Kahanu Garden. Make sure to include it on your Maui itinerary, especially if you are planning to drive the famous Road to Hana.
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