Did you know that 2022 was proclaimed as the "Year of the Limu" in Hawaii? Limu was an integral part of the traditional Hawaiian diet, was used for medicinal, religious, and cultural purposes, and plays a significant role in our freshwater and saltwater habitats. Unfortunately, many invasive species have taken over and efforts to restore native limu populations are underway.
When I was growing up, I remember when my family used to go to the beach. There would be limu all over the beaches. I remember my sister and I picking it up and throwing it at each other, squealing if it touched us in the water while swimming or pretending it was hair! Now that I have my own keiki, I quickly realized that limu is no longer as abundant on our shoreline. I know there are some places you may find it still but it saddens me to think that where limu was once abundant, it is now almost non-existent or has been pushed out by invasive species. It saddens me to think that my keiki may never see the beaches covered in limu, and their keiki...so I thought to myself, what could we do?
As part of our Kakoo Collection, a portion of the sales from this collection will be donated to the Waimanalo Limu Hui, a community based group who seek to replenish the once bountiful supply of limu found in Waimanalo Bay.
I asked Kaille, the artist behind Under the Moon Designs, to help bring this collection to life. She is an amazing and talented watercolor artist from New Zealand and she truly saw my vision and made it happen! Mahalo Kaille!
There are 5 different limu featured in this design, limu lipoa, limu kohu, limu pakeleawaaa, limu manauea, and limu Palahalahala. Have you see any of these at the beach? I wish I could say I've seen them all.
Some fun facts:
- The leafy, golden limu lipoa is known as one of the Hawaiians’ favorite eating seaweeds, used to be widespread around Oahu, including Waikiki (Read more about Limu Lipoa here).
- Limu Kohu is another prized seaweed for poke and is very expensive. Today it is close to extinction. (Read more about Limu Kohu here)
- Did you know Limu pakeleawaa was a favorite of Queen Liliuokalani? According to old Hawaiian Newspapers, she transplanted the limu from Lahaina to Waikiki in order to cultivate the species on Oahu (Read more about Limu Pakeleawaa here).
- Limu Manauea is a common seaweed, sometimes called ogo, and is popular for eating (Read more about Limu Manauea here).
- Limu Palahalahala is one of the most common seaweeds found in Hawaiian waters and is also called sea lettuce (Read more about Limu Palahalahala here).