Pala’ā (Sphenomeris chinensis)
Pala‘ā is a lace fern, also known as Palapala‘ā or Pā‘ū o Pala‘e (a companion of Hi‘iaka, in the saga of Hi‘iaka i ka poli o Pele). Pala‘ā means dark color, such as browns, reds and purple because of its dying qualities. In the saga, Pele gifts Pa‘ū o Palae (goddess of ferns) to Hi‘iaka to accompany her on her quest. During her first trial / battle with Pana‘ewa (mo‘o, dragon, serpent, or water spirit) Pā‘ū o Pala‘e uses her fern skirt as a beson of destruction, transforming into a veritable goddess of war. In the practice of hula Kuahu, Palaʻā is ranked highly in the hierarchy of Lakas embodiments, similar to Palai. Through the Tiny Kuahu Series platform, I chose to create this design to invoke Pa’ū o Pala‘es courage and fierce warrior spirit.