n. Cooked sweet-potato leaves.

The ʻuala was not just cultivated for its tubers, Hawaiians (and many other cultures) also cook the greens, which is known as palula.  The young leaves are used from all varieties though those with smaller leaves are preferred because of they are considered more flavorful.  In its cooked stage it is known as palula and is quite good.   Palula is a good source of Vitamin E, Niacin and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, and Potassium.

Unless you have ‘uala growing in your yard or know someone who does, finding lau ‘uala (sweet potato leaves) may not be easy.  If there is a farmer’s market near you, perhaps you could get some there. I bought lau ‘uala at the farmersʻ market in Hilo.  You can use the lau to make laulau.  Just a pile of washed palula (and the stems are okay, too), a piece of boneless chicken, maybe a piece of fish (we used salmon), perhaps a piece of kalo or ‘uala, more lau, and wrap it all up in lāʻī (ti leaf) and steam.

Palula is not just used as a nutritious food.  In Hawaiʻi, nursing mothers sometimes wore lei of ʻuala vine because the milky sap was thought to kōkua the production of milk for nursing.  There was one variety of ʻuala that was used as bait to attract ʻōpelu.  Different parts of the plant were used as medicine to induce vomiting, to relieve asthma, and act as a laxative.

Just think of the multiple uses out of this one plant that is easy to grow in your own backyard!

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Palula is a noun.

ʻOno ka palula a me ka poi – Palula is ʻono with poi.

Hiki iā kākou ke ÿai i ka palula i kēia lā – We can eat palula today.


ʻŌpū palula – Stomach full of sweet potato greens (said of an ignorant person who can only grow sweet potatoes).

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] 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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One Response to Palula

  1. Kahanu says:

    How long do you steam it for?

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