Kau Pe

The Marquesas are virgin islands with luxuriant and generous vegetation.

Even if it is found on most high Polynesian islands, the Kau Pe comes from Hawaii and is locally called «pua». It is the emblem of these islands, just as the Tiare flower is for Tahiti.

The legend says that the first Pua was brought to the earth by the god Tane, god of forests, who had taken it from his tenth heaven. That is why Pua was considered sacred and dedicated to make idols for the god Tane.

This very decorative small tree is characterized by its flowers, particularly valued for their exhilarating, subtle and delicate perfume smelling like Tiare.

Flower of love, friendship and life, it is mainly used to make crowns and garlands, and is also used for a Marquesas specialty, the Umuhei, a mix of traditional plants with aphrodisiac virtues macerated in Monoï.



The flowers appear on new branches, pruning is the best way to maintain flowering. Similarly, over-fertilization of the ground encourages the growth of leaves rather than flowers. Therefore, fertilizer use must be moderate. Even if Kau Pe looks like the Tiare flower, the harvest is much more difficult: the Kau Pe is a tree; it is necessary to climb often to collect the flowers. The collections are done every 2 or 3 days, at dawn. The flowers are collected by breaking the stem below the flower, leaving the leafy base green. The average yield is approximately 5kg of flowers per day per person.


Cosmetic use

The fruits are used in traditional medicine for bronchitis treatment, with some caution however, because they can be toxic in high doses. Its light brown wood is polished very easily, and is used to make furniture and sculptures. The flowers are worn at the ear or as necklaces.

Traditionnal use

Rich in mucilage, the Kau Pe flower has emollient, soothing and softening properties that are very interesting for cosmetic care.