This species of Hala tree, found on Hawaii before westerners arrived, was used for many purposes by historic Hawaiians. The massive fruit of this tree–about 6 to 12 inches across–was used for food. The leaves, called lauhala, were used for baskets, roofs, mats, and skirts.
The art of weaving the lauhala important to Hawaiians and a big part of their history and story.
The tree is part of the Pandanus (thatch screwpine) genus, which has about 600 species and is often called a palm tree, even though it is not closely related to palms.
This particular hala tree is found at the Laurie Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden on the Big Island.