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The Atoll of Funafuti, Ellice group : its zoology, botany, ethnology and general structure based on collections made by Charles Hedley of the Australian Museum, Sydney, N.S.W.



My observations on the Funafuti plants used by the islanders are far from exhaustive. A thorough inquiry into such a subject can only be undertaken with success by one speaking the language fluently. Medicine and magic are too intimately associated to be lightly discussed by a native herbalist, even in the present stage of civilisation. I could not attempt to unravel the sources of information, but some ideas at least of the virtues of plants are recent importations from Fiji or Samoa.

The above notes may thus be briefly classified: Food plants—Cocos, Pandanus, Ficus, and Cordyline; Fibre—Cocos, Pandanus, Ficus, Hibiscus, and Broussonetia; Timber—Hernandia, Ochrosia, Thespesia, Rhizophora, and Pemphis; Dye—Premna, Morinda, and Rhizophora; Scent—Calophyllum, Guettarda, page 41Premna, Gardenia, Crinum, Wedelia, and Polypodium; Medicinal—Triumfetta, Tournefortia, Morinda, Premna, Psilotum, Cardamine, and Wedelia. Neglected by the islanders as food are the seeds of Pandanus, eaten in Australia; of Ochrosia, eaten in the Solomons; of Rhizophora, eaten in Papua; and of Dioclea, eaten by Europeans.