‘Ie’Ie (Freycinetia arborea)
Nativity status map
Freycinetia arborea, -Ie-ie, is a densely branched, brittle, woody climber in the family Pandanaceae, endemic to the Pacific Islands. -Ie-ie is found in moist forest on the Hawaiian, Marquesas, Austral, Society, and Cook Islands. It grows into the forest canopy, attaching itself to a host tree using aerial roots. It may also grow as a sprawling tangle on the forest floor.The shiny green leaves have pointed ends and are spiny on the lower side of the midrib and along the edges. Leaves measure 40-80 centimetres (16-31 in) long and 1-3 centimetres (0.39-1.18 in) wide, and are spirally arranged around the ends of branches. Flowers form on spike-like inflorescences at the end of branches, and are either staminate or pistillate. Staminate spikes are yellowish-white and up to 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in length. Pistillate spikes are 3-4 centimetres (1.2-1.6 in) but elongate to 7.5-9.5 centimetres (3.0-3.7 in) once fruit are produced. Three to four spikes are surrounded by orange-salmon bracts. Fruit is 1 centimetre (0.39 in) long and contains many 1.5-millimetre (0.059 in) seeds. The bracts and fruit of the -ie-ie were a favorite food of the —- (Psittirostra psittacea), an extinct Hawaiian honeycreeper that was formerly a principal seed dispersal vector for plants with small seeded, fleshy fruits in low elevation forests. It is also a favored food of the -alal- (Corvus hawaiiensis), which is currently extinct in the wild.