Introduced Species: ‘Awa (Piper methysticum)

Introduced species are species that are taken from one ecosystem and are then brought to a new habitat, where the species would not naturally reside. The ‘Awa, as shown above, is considered to be “introduced” to the Hawaiian islands, brought by early Polynesian settlers. The ‘Awa, unlike most introduced species, has not caused a negative impact on the ecosystem of the Hawaiian Islands. This lack of impact is due to the fact that the environment of the Hawaiian Islands is similar to that of the ‘Awa plant’s natural habitat in the Polynesian Islands. The ‘Awa plant is used traditionally in rituals and as a medicinal tea.

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