Plants I saw while in Kauai
There is no known meaning behind the name of Kauaʻi. Native Hawaiian tradition indicates the name’s origin in the legend of Hawaiʻiloa — the Polynesian navigator attributed with discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. The story relates how he named the island of Kauaʻi after a favorite son; therefore a possible translation of Kauaʻi is “place around the neck”, meaning how a father would carry a favorite child. Another possible translation is “food season.”
Kauaʻi was known for its distinct dialect of the Hawaiian language before it went extinct there. Whereas the standard language today is based on the dialect of Hawaiʻi island, the Kauaʻi dialect was known for pronouncing /k/ as /t/. In effect, Kauaʻi dialect retained the old pan-Polynesian /t/, while ‘standard’ Hawaiʻi dialect has innovated and changed it to the glottal stop. Therefore, the native name for Kauaʻi was Tauaʻi, and the major settlement of Kapaʻa would have been called Tapaʻa.