Woods selected to make `umeke were determined by their ease in cutting, durability, attractive wood grain and freedom from resins which would impart unpleasant flavors on the wood Completed containers were treated to remove any bitterness remaining in the wood This was done by soaking the bowl in the sea for several days, drying it, then filling it with taro and sweet potato peelings and salt water to soak for an additional time Bowls for holding poi were often fitted with covers to keep out insects and to prevent a crust from forming on the surface of the poit
Largest number of calabashes and those of greatest size made from kou Admired for its contrasting light and dark tones
Rich grained milo was next in favor to kou
Warm rose-brown in color made into smaller food bowls and platters
Pōhue – general name for gourd plant, also ipu
Unique to the chiefs of Hawai`i Usually made of kou, some were decorated with human teeth and variously shaped bones from enemies slain by the chiefs who used the bowls. It was considered an insult to the many slain foes The chief gave the care of his scrap bowl to a trusted attendant, or kahu, who guarded it continuously as he accompanied his chief At meals, the chief placed discarded scraps, bones and inedible fragments in the bowl. At the end of the day, the attendant disposed of the contents on the bowl by burning or burying them secretly.