1. n. Short for honohono kukui. (PPN hongohongo.)

2. n. The wandering Jew or dayflower (Commelina diffusa), known in many temperate and tropical countries, a creeping weed, rooting at the joints, and bearing grasslike, ovate leaves and small bright-blue flowers. (Neal 185.) Also honohono wai, and mākolokolo. Cf. honohono ʻula.

3. n. A very rare native mint (Haplostachys haplostachya), a downy erect herb with oblong or narrower leaves and white flowers. (Neal 732.)

4. See ʻokika honohono.

5. Same as hohono, bad-smelling.

6. n. A children’s game; the child locked fingers of two hands and thrust them into the sand, letting the sand out through a small opening.

Hono hono (honohono1.jpg)


Honohono grass (which is not really a grass) is what we call this plant growing wild in our pasture (and more recently in my garden) and commonly found throughout the islands. It has some great medicinal qualities. It can bring down fevers, help heal injured eyes, and is good to drink as a tea. I remember Papa Auwae’s daughter talking about it during my tenure at Hilo High School. Papa Auwae was a kahuna lāʻau lapaʻau from Hawaiʻi Island and quite well known. Fortunately he taught many, including his daughters, the art of healing using medicinal plants.

There is a beautiful orchid called the honohono orchid, given the same name as the grass, probably because the leaves of this orchid plant grow alternately on either side of the stem, like the grass. Ironically, the leaves drop off once the orchids bloom. Honohono orchids have a great scent:

honohono orchid

honohono orchid

The fifth definition above, refers to a bad smell (unlike the orchid!), a putrid kind of smell, that acrid shishi (urine) smell. For this reason you might not want to be using the honohono orchid or honohono grass in a lei. Its medicinal qualities may be valuable but symbolically it might not be a good idea for a lei.

Loaʻa ka honohono ma koʻu māla – There is honohono grass in my garden.

Honohono ma kēlā ʻaoʻao o ka lumi – It is shishi smelling on that side of the room.

Copyright: 2015 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Adress inquiries to: hemomi [at] gmail.com. Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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