Get your very own Lanakila Ānuenue Papaya plushie! Our readers overwhelmingly voted for the Hawaiian Papaya to be our second plushie, and our artist created a very creative character! Lanakila means “triumphant” in Hawaiian, and Ānuenue means “rainbow”, so our character is named after the Rainbow Papaya which was genetically engineered to fight off the papaya ringspot virus. Lanakila is 8″ (20cm) tall, soft plushie with no wires, and gently weighted on the bottom so they can stand up. This cute papaya fruit has a papaya leaf forming a “hand”, a papaya flower decorating their head, and a small papaya leaf as a reminder about the impact of the ringspot disease on papaya farms. The green, yellow, and orange colors of Lanakila were also picked directly from real genetically engineered papayas grown in Hawaii!
Papayas are also a fascinating example of one of many kinds of diversity that plants can have. Most flowering plants have flowers that have both male and female parts, and some plants have separate male and female flowers on the same plant, or separate male and female plants. But Papayas are even cooler – they can be male, female, hermaphroditic (both male and female), as well as “fruiting males” which have male flowers that also produce fruits!
The rainbow is an important symbol in Hawaii, just as the Rainbow Papaya is an important food crop in Hawaii today. The rainbow has also evolved to represent diversity, inclusion, and acceptance in our culture, and in that spirit we made Lanakila a gender-nonbinary character. You can think of your papaya plushie as a girl, boy, gender-fluid or other nonbinary identity.
The Hawaiian language also gave us a beautiful way to create our papaya’s name. The word Lana means Cheerful or Floating, and is feminine, while Kila is masculine and means Strong or Bold. Together, Lanakila is a gender-neutral name and means Triumphant. You can choose the name that suits your papaya.